U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate regarding the Kennedy health care bill:
• “The Republican vision is that there won’t be someone in between a patient and a doctor who would get in the way of the treatment or the care you need. And our great fear is that the Democratic proposal would put the government in between you and your doctor—with the government in charge of rationing.”
• “I think of the pregnant women in rural counties in Tennessee who have to drive all the way to Memphis or Nashville to get prenatal health care because their OB-GYN’s medical malpractice cases have driven up insurance costs, leaving them no way to get health care . . . . All the Republican proposals would assure that everyone would be covered—that preexisting conditions would not disqualify you. The issue before us is if we’re going to add trillions to the debt and put the government in between the patient and the doctor.”
• “We’re concerned that the administration has proposed over the next ten years more new debt, three times as much new debt actually, as was spent in all of World War II (in today’s dollars).”
• “40 percent of doctors won’t see Medicaid patients for all their services. 40 percent of doctors. So if we say, ‘Congratulations, we’re going to run up the federal debt and add a big state tax in order to stuff you into a program in which 40 percent of the doctors today won’t see you,’ it’s like giving you a ticket to a bus system that doesn’t have any buses.”
• “This is the biggest issue before our country today. It is certainly the biggest issue before Congress. Republicans have our proposals on the table. We’re ready to go to work. We want to make sure that preexisting conditions don’t leave out qualified people. We want to make sure that everyone is covered and that we have access to health care at a price the family budget can afford. And we’re resolute in our determination not to add trillions to the national debt and not to dump new debt on the states.”
Alexander is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP).