Alexander Assails Democrats’ $2 Trillion, 2,000-Page “Full of Surprises” Bill, Offers Republican Alternatives

Says “pages in these Democratic bills are going up faster than the national debt”

Posted on November 4, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander yesterday made the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate: • “The era of the 1,000-page bill is over: We now have a 2,000-page bill from the House of Representatives.” • “Almost no one has seen the Senate Democrats’ health bill. It’s being written behind closed doors. This was supposed to be the era of great transparency. President Obama, to his great credit, said we’d all be able to watch this on C-SPAN, so Americans will know if the drug companies or if the insurance companies or lobbyists are in there writing the bill. But what do we have? We have the Majority Leader and some people from the White House writing the health care bill. We don’t know how many pages it’ll have, because we’re not allowed in the room. We can’t count the lobbyists. We can’t count the companies with whom deals might be made. We just don’t know.” • “The pages in these Democratic bills are going up faster than the national debt, and it’s an issue with the American people. So until the various writers emerge from behind closed doors, we’re going to have to go with what we have, which is a 2,000-page congressional Democratic health care bill that a Wall Street Journal editorial said yesterday when fully implemented would cost $2 trillion over a 10-year period of time.” • “Republicans have been saying over and over again on the Senate floor and other places that we’re going in the wrong direction, that we need to start over, that our goal should be to reduce costs, costs to each of us who pay premiums, costs to all of us who have to pay the federal government debt. And we should set a clear goal, reducing costs, and move step by step toward that goal of reducing costs to re-earn the trust of the American people.” Rather than “a 2,000-page bill full of surprises,” Alexander outlined several different shorter Republican proposals to help Congress go step by step in the right direction to reduce costs, including measures to: • Allow small businesses to pool resources to purchase health insurance for employees like the Small Business Health Plans Act (Enzi), which is 88 pages; • Allow for the purchasing of health insurance across state lines to increase competition like the Health Care Choices Act (DeMint), which is 30 pages; • Reduce the amount of junk lawsuits against doctors like the Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Access to Care Act (Gregg), which is 30 pages; • Equalize the tax treatment of health care so all Americans can afford it like Title VI of the Healthy Americans Act (Bennett), which is 21 pages; • Promote the adoption of Health Information Technology like Title VII of the Patients Choice Act (Coburn, Burr), which is 13 pages; • Create health care exchanges for the purchase of private health insurance like Title II of the Patients Choice Act (Coburn, Burr), which is 8 pages; • Combat waste fraud and abuse like the Prevent Health Care Fraud Act (LeMieux), which is 21 pages.