Alexander, Landrieu react to passage of healthcare reform bill

Rodney Alexander

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, today issued the following remarks on the passage of the Senate-passed H.R. 3590, The Patient Protection and Affordable Health, and H.R. 4872, The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010:
 
“The outpour of opposition from the American public apparently did not resonate with the congressional majority. Their decision to vote and pass this massive overhaul of our health care system was rammed down our country’s throat in order to get it quickly across the finish line.  Unfortunately, this is no longer about seeing positive changes to our health care system, but just a political agenda to get something passed – no matter what the cost.
 
“This legislation undermines the patient-physician relationship and empowers the federal government with even greater authority through new physician, employer and benefit mandates. 
 
“Supporters of this health reform package also misled the American public into believing that you can raise baselines and reduce spending at the same time. The unsustainable nature of the bill from a financial standpoint was another reason I refused to support it.  You cannot expect to expand coverage to millions of individuals and curb costs at the same time. 
 
“The Medicaid program already pays doctors and hospitals at levels well below those of Medicare and private insurance – and most of the time below actual costs.  Despite an estimated $80 billion in taxpayer dollars lost every year due to both Medicare and Medicaid fraud, this bill ultimately expands an already broken and unsustainable Medicaid program.  It will also devastate our thinly stretched state budgets with a $20 billion unfunded mandate to expand the Medicaid population and cut federal Disproportionate Share (DSH) dollars, which the state of Louisiana heavily relies on to cover the indigent population.
 
“This legislation includes an increase of $569.2 billion in new taxes over 10 years.  In the midst of 9.7 percent unemployment in this country and 8.2 percent in Louisiana, forcing job-killing taxes in a time when we can least afford to lose jobs will devastate small businesses, job creators, investors and middle class families.  Moreover, the bill includes $523.5 billion in cuts to Medicare, slashing benefits and raising premiums on seniors.  These cuts are not used to reduce the deficit, but instead to create new entitlement programs. Specifically, these cuts include $202.3 billion in cuts to seniors’ Medicare Advantage plans.  We have 600,000 seniors enrolled as Medicare beneficiaries in Louisiana, and the administration continues to misinform them that they will not have services or benefits cut. 
 
“I opposed this massive expansion of the government’s role in our private health care system and education system.  The concerns regarding the overall distrust of the federal government have been solidified through passage of H.R. 3590 and H.R. 4872.  The majority of this country will now rely on the federal government for everything from mortgages, student loans, health care and retirement benefits.”

  • Mary Landrieu

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., tonight made the following statement upon the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Senate health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
 
Sen. Landrieu said:
 
“After decades of dashed hopes and a year of very contentious debate, Congress has produced a bill that will deliver meaningful health care reform to Americans of all ages and all walks of life. Through tough negotiations, we struck an appropriate balance between private and public approaches to reduce cost, expand coverage and increase choice for Louisiana families and small businesses. And we have done so without a government takeover of health care.
 
“For too long, small businesses have struggled with skyrocketing premiums and the tough choice between providing health insurance for their employees or cutting jobs. Those days are over with the passage of this bill. Families who have had a child denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or who have lost their insurance because they changed jobs will now have access to insurance they can count on. And by shoring up the Medicare trust fund and eliminating the program’s waste and fraud, our seniors will have the care they need for years to come. 
 
“It is now time to move this effort across the finish line. I look forward to the Senate’s up-or-down vote this week to approve the House’s target improvements to this historic legislation.”

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