Alexander Discusses the True Costs of Democrats’ Health Care Legislation

Says $2.5 Trillion Bill Is Paid For by Medicare Cuts and New Taxes

Posted on December 2, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today discussed how Democrats will pay for their 2,074-page health care bill. In his remarks, Senator Alexander noted that the legislation’s almost half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts will weaken the program American seniors use to receive their health care. Below are excerpts from his remarks on the Senate floor: • “The Democratic health care bill costs $2.5 trillion over 10 years when it's fully implemented. It's, if I may say so, arrogant to think the American people couldn't figure out the difference between the first 10 years when the bill wasn't fully implemented for four of those years.” • “This bill costs $2.5 trillion and in the attempt to pay for it there are Medicare cuts, tax increases and increases to the deficit by not including the physicians Medicare reimbursement in the health care bill.” • “The director of the Congressional Budget Office made it clear that there would be specific cuts in benefits for those who have Medicare Advantage, which is about one out of four seniors.” • “It is clear that there are $465 billion in cuts in Medicare. All of us know that that's how a big part of how the bill is supposedly paid for. The Congressional Budget Office is specific enough to say that $135 billion comes from hospitals; $120 billion from Medicare Advantage, which 11 million seniors have; nearly $15 billion from nursing homes; $40 billion from home health agencies’; and $8 billion from hospices.” • “The Medicare trustees have said that between 2015 and 2017, Medicare will be approaching insolvency, and they ask that we take urgent action. The urgent action recommended by the Democratic majority is that we take $465 billion out of the Medicare program over ten years and spend it on a new entitlement.” • “It's hard for me to understand how that can make Medicare more solvent, when you take money out of Grandma's Medicare and spend it on someone else.”