Saxby Chambliss addresses Health Care Bill concerns

WASHINGTON, DC - News release from the Senator's Office

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the health care reconciliation bill:

"I thank the senator from New Hampshire.

"Let me reiterate what came out of the colloquy between the senator from Montana and the senator from Arizona, which is that this is going to be a deficit-reducer. And the president is going around the country talking about the fact that this bill is going to reduce the deficit.

"But what the president is not going to say, but what the senator from Montana just agreed to, is the fact that our physicians, who are due a 21 percent decrease in Medicare reimbursement payments, are not, in fact, going to have that 21 percent reduction. That decrease was included in this bill to make it appear more deficit-neutral over the first 10 years.

"When you factor that in, this not only does it not reduce the deficit, but it adds an additional $281 billion to the number they say it will reduce the deficit by.

"So very clearly we're going to add to the deficit when we pass this bill because the senator from Montana's right: We're not going to see that 21 percent reduction. And I suspect the $523 billion in Medicare cuts provided for in this bill that are scheduled to take effect in future years may not ever happen.

"If that is the case, then not only are we looking at an additional cost for the SGR Fix, or the doctor fix, but we're looking at increasing the deficit to fund a domestic program in a huge way.

"What it says it that this bill provides $2 billion in new taxes. New taxes on the American people, particularly the small-business community that's hit the hardest by this.

"Also, Mr. President, I want to talk about a specific provision that is going to have an immediate direct impact on my taxpayers in Georgia. And that is the increase in the threshold to qualify for Medicaid going from 100 percent to 133 percent in my state, according to our governor – and he has run the numbers – that this will cost the taxpayers of Georgia, in addition to their share of the $2 billion in additional taxes, an additional $1 billion per year that Georgia taxpayers will have to pay.

"We're in difficult times in my state, as are all 50 states right now. This is a new provision, a new precedent.

"Lastly, Mr. President, it has emerged in the past 48 hours that the agency that will administer the new health care reform bill the president signed into law is none other than the Internal Revenue Service.

"The IRS has said that, in order to review the tax returns of every taxpaying American to ensure that they have complied with the law and bought insurance or had insurance taken out through their employer, that the agency will need an additional 16,500 IRS agents at a cost of an additional $10 billion to the taxpayer.

"That $10 billion is not factored in here in any way.

"Mr. President, we are dealing with a piece of legislation that the American public has shown over and over again in every poll taken – whether by a Democratic pollster or Republican pollster or independent pollster – that they do not want.

"And we're going to force this bill down the throats of the American people, and that is wrong. That is not the way this body and the body across the Capitol should be working with respect to the best interests of the American people.

"I urge my colleagues at the appropriate time during the vote on the amendments this afternoon and tonight to repeal this bill, and let's replace it with a meaningful health care reform bill we can all agree on.

"There are a lot of provisions in those 2,700 pages, plus the length of this so-called fix-it bill, that we can agree on with which we can replace this bill that will provide the American people with the true, meaningful health care reform that they need and deserve.

"We won't see all of these huge increases in taxes, we won't see all of these huge reductions in Medicare benefits, and we can do the will of the people in the right and appropriate way."