Alexander on Health Care Reform: “Start Over to Get It Right: Step by Step to Reduce Costs”

Says ‘The Combination of a Government Plan and an Employer Tax Will Result in Millions of Americans Losing Their Health Insurance”

Posted on September 16, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the Senate floor (a full transcript of Senator Alexander’s remarks is available upon request): • “We have often heard the president say, ‘Well, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.’ But what he doesn’t go on to say is that we create this government plan and if we require employers to pay $750 per employee and $375 for part-time employees, many employers are going to look at that and say, ‘It is much cheaper for me to pay $750 or $375 for an employee, so I will just pay the government a fine and let the government plan offer health care to my employees.’ So it’s estimated by most groups that have looked at the health care proposals that the combination of a government plan and an employer tax will result in millions of Americans losing their employer-provided health insurance.” • “Republicans want health-care reform, but our definition of that is a little different from that on the other side of the aisle. We want health care reform that reduces costs, costs to the American people when they buy health insurance, and costs of the government of the American people. And we do not want more debt and another Washington takeover, which we’re seeing so much of these days. President Obama said in his address to the country that he will ‘not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future, period.’ That’s good.” • “The first goal of health care reform is to reduce cost—the cost of health care to Americans, to American businesses, and the cost to Americans of their government, which is spiraling out of control in debt because of the cost of health care . . . If we don’t reduce cost, we will bankrupt the government and make health care unaffordable for most Americans . . . I hope that Congress will now take Republican advice and start over and get it right. A good way to begin would be for the president to send us a health care reform bill that not only doesn’t add to the debt but that begins step by step to reduce cost to the American people and to the American government. By taking those steps we can re-earn the trust of the American people.”