Alexander: Baucus Health Care Bill Raises Taxes, Increases Premiums and Cuts Medicare

Posted on October 14, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the Senate: • “The bill coming out of the Finance Committee does three big things. Instead of reducing costs, it brings higher premiums. It increases taxes. It calls for higher Medicare cuts. That’s not health care reform. If it will lead to higher premiums, higher taxes, and Medicare cuts, then what is the goal of this exercise? The first goal should be reducing costs.” • “How does it drive up premiums? The Congressional Budget Office has stated the obvious—that when you impose taxes on insurance companies, they pass them on to us in the form of higher premiums.” • “It’s very likely that for millions of Americans, this bill will raise premiums instead of reducing them—and 250 million Americans pay insurance premiums or have them paid by someone else. And here we are in the middle of a recession with 10 percent unemployment, and we’re talking about nearly $1 trillion in tax increases passed on to us in one way or another? Then there’s a $1,500 penalty per family for not buying insurance. And on top of that: employer mandates. If you own a small business, you’ll have to either provide insurance to your employees or pay a penalty.” • “Americans who like their catastrophic policy because they get to pay a lower premium and pay for their own medical expenses unless something really terrible happens to them or their families—a pretty wise choice for many Americans—may not be able to do that quite so easily under this bill because they’ll have to buy a likely more expensive government-approved plan—or pay a fine.” • “The governors of both parties are in near cardiac arrest over the prospect of Medicaid expansion. Fourteen million new people, low-income Americans, will be dumped into state Medicaid programs. I say ‘dumped’ because doctors and hospitals are reimbursed so poorly for treating Medicaid patients that 40 percent of doctors won’t see them. So we’re going to say, ‘Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Low-Income American, welcome to the failed Medicaid program.” A full transcript of Senator Alexander’s remarks is available upon request. # # #