tv Senators Mc Connell and Thune on Health Care CSPAN July 12, 2017 2:53am-3:16am EDT
mr. mcconnell: i want to start this afternoon by offering deepest condolences to the marine corps and all those who lost loved ones in the tragic plane crash yesterday in mississippi. we're still learning details about
the incident, but we know that at least 16 on board the plane perished as a result of
the crash. our hearts break for all those impacted and the many lives cut short in this tragedy. we're reminded of the bravery that our voluntary service members exhibit, putting their lives on the line both at home and abroad, in order to defend our communities and our freedom. we're indebted to them for their courageous, courageous sacrifice. now on a totally different matter, obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class. seven years ago democrats imposed it on our country. in the years since americans have found themselves at the mercy of its failures repeatedly. choice was supposed to go up, but it plummeted. costs were supposed to go down. they skyrocketed. obamacare's defenders spent
years trying to deny these clear realities. when the weight of the evidence became too clear to ignore, some appeared to bemoan obamacare's harmful impact on our country. the democratic governor of minnesota declared it was no longer affordable. president clinton branded it the craziest thing in the world. other democrats said similar things. such acknowledgements of the obvious seemed to many of us like progress, but they turned out to be just rhetoric. in the last election, voters delivered congress the opportunity to finally address the obamacare status quo. and yet, democrats made clear early on that they did not want to work with us in a serious bipartisan way to actually do so. i wish they made a different choice. i wish the sudden calls for bipartisanship now were even somewhat serious, but this is the reality before us. we must accept it because that's where we are.
and as my republicans know, this is the charge we must accept as well. the american people are looking to us for a better way. that's why despite the headwinds, i chose to keep working toward a better solution than obamacare. i've seen the pain in the eyes of too many of my constituents because of this law. i think they deserve better than what obamacare has given them. and i hope in the end that a majority of the senate will agree. we've been continuing with ongoing conversations across the conference about how to get there. members shared significant input over the state work period. we're going to keep working very hard on this. we'll continue to focus on the fundamentals that have guided the process from the start, like improving the affordability of health insurance, destabilizing collapsing
insurance markets before they leave even more americans without any options at all. we also want to strengthen medicaid for those who need it most by giving states more flexibility while ensuring those who rely on the program don't have the rug pulled out from under them. many states want the ability to reform their medicaid program so they can actually deliver better care at a lower cost. under current law, states have some ability to do so. indiana, for example, lost a particularly notable effort thanks to the leadership of now c.m.s. director ms. verma. she has helped states like kentucky develop their own plans. the process is still too restricted. it hinders broader innovation and it's very slow. kentucky's plan, for instance, still has not been approved by the federal government. the senate health care legislation contains a provision to dramatically expand the state's authority to improve its medicaid system.
it's an idea that could significantly improve health care in states across the country. as "the wall street journal" wrote in a recent editorial, this booster shot of federalism could become the greatest evolution of federal power to the states in a modern era. it could launch a first of state innovation. the "journal" went on introducing competing health care models across the country would be healthy. california and south carolina don't and shouldn't have to follow one uniform prototype designed in washington. and even a state as large as california doesn't have the same needs from region to region within the state. if nothing else, the repeal and replace debate has shown that
liberals, conservatives and centrists have different health care priorities and allowing different approaches and experimentation would be politically therapeutic. the more innovative can become examples to those that stay heavily regulated. it's clear we have an important opportunity to achieve positive things for our country. it's also clear that if we let this opportunity pass by, the options left are not good ones. senate democratic leader acknowledges that obamacare isn't working the way they promised, but his solution, as he noted in a statement last week, is simply more money for insurance companies. the solution would be an insurance company bailout. no reforms, no changes. just more money to pay -- paper over the problems under the current law. it's a multibillion-dollar band-aid, not a real solution.
senator sanders acknowledges that obamacare isn't working too, but his solution, as he stated in my state over the weekend, is to move to the kind of fully government-run single-payer system that was already abandoned in his home state of vermont. 80% of the voters recently rejected in colorado, and that even the california legislature and its huge democratic majority is finding rather hard to swallow. is it any wonder the so-called single-payer plan senator sanders proposed in his presidential campaign would strip americans of so many facets of decision-making over their own health care, and literally hand it over to the government. it would require almost unimagineably high tax increases. unimagineably high. and the cost, according to a recent analysis by the urban
institute stands at an astonishing -- listen to this, mr. president -- $32 trillion. that's interest with -- that's trillion with a "t." that represents a greater sum than the entire economy of the most populist nation on earth: china. more than japan's economy too, and germany's and britain's and france's. same with italy's, brazil's, indian's and canada's. in fact, the cost of senator sander's health care plan is projected to be roughly equal to the size of all nine of those countries' economies combined. it would total more than the entire economy of the european union. twice over. if you laid out 32 trillion one-dollar bills end to end,
they would stretch from the earth to neptune. it took voyager 2 spacecraft 12 years to reach neptune. well, that's the government-run single-payer plan put forward by the most famous proponent of the idea. many in the senate democratic leadership now support single-payer too. and these days increasing numbers on the left seem to openly comment on the failures of obamacare as if they see an opportunity actually -- an opportunity to finally realize their left-wing dream of total government dominance of the health care system. that's the dream of many on the other side in this body. that, mr. president, will not happen if we succeed in our
charge today. americans deserve better than what they're getting under obamacare. they deserve better than what they're getting -- they deserve better than what they get under an even more government-heavy system than we have now. they also deserve better than ba band-aid solution. the people we represent deserve more affordable health insurance. they deserve improved health care choice. they deserve a more flexible medicaid system that can help improve outcomes for those truly in need. they deserve a more responsive health care market that trusts the american people to make more of their own choices, not the government. that's what we have been fighting for throughout this debate. that's what we're going to keep
fighting for today. now on one final matter, believe it or not, mr. president, the current business before the senate is the consideration of a noncontroversial nominee for u.s. district judge in idaho. idaho. how do we know he's noncontroversial? well, the judiciary committee reported out his nomination on a voice vote, and then every single senate democrat voted yesterday for cloture on his nomination. thereby agreeing that there's no need to continue debate on this noncontroversial nomination. a noncontroversial district court judge. why are we still having a debate on a noncontroversial district
court judge? if they agree the senate should bring the debate on the nomination to a close, why do they insist on dragging out the 30 hours of postcloture debate time in order to have a debate a nomination not one senate democrat said they needed to have more debate. we know the answer. the procedural vote yesterday served our colleagues the apparent purpose of wasting, literally wasting more of the senate's time. unfortunately this has become a common practice for our friends across the aisle. at this point in president obama's presidency, we allowed more than 90% of his nominees to clear by simple voice vote. let me say it again, mr. president. at this point in president obama's presidency, we allowed more than 90% of his nominees to clear by a simple voice vote.
and we only ask for those procedural votes known as cloture votes eight times. at the same point under this current president, president trump, democrats have allowed voice votes 10% of the time. 90% of obama's nominees got a voice vote, 10% of trump's got a voice vote. and they forced procedural hurdles 30 times. often these needless delays have nothing to do with a nominee's credentials or whether or not the democrats support the nominee. in many cases, in fact, they actually do support the nominee, like the nominee before us. as "the wall street journal" observed, democratic obstruction against nominees is nearly
total. most notably a demand for cloture vote filings for every nominee no matter how minor the position. what does this mean? it means a two-day waiting period and then another 30 hours beyond that. it's not about changing the outcome. it's about wasting it time to make it more difficult for the president to make appointments. according to the nonpartisan partnership for public service at about this point in president obama's presidency, he had 83 of his nominees confirmed. while the current president made 178 nominations, almost as many, the senate's confirmed only 46 of them. "the wall street journal" editorial i mentioned goes on to note that the extent of this democratic obstruction extends far beyond the cloture vote issue. i've discussed this issue before
and i urged the democratic minority to think critically about the cons questionses for -- consequences for the senate and the country if they allow this total obstruction to continue. so,
mr. president, i ask unanimous consent "the wall street journal" editorial that i just mentioned appear in the record at this point. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: mr. president, as the leader has very ablably pointed out, the democrat obstruction when it comes to president
trump's nominees is reaching an unprecedented level if you compare it to any past administration. he pointed out the number of nominees president obama was able to get in the way that republicans had here -- republicans here in the senate cooperated with him on his nominees. this state of affairs here in the senate really is taking the obstructionism when it comes to it trying to block even getting people into the administration into their positions to an entirely new level. and, frankly, mr. president, about the only thing that probably exceeds the pileup of president obama's -- president trump's nominees to getting into his administration is the pile up of bad obamacare news stories. just take a look at a few of the recent headlines. from the "cincinnati inquirier." this is a headline, "another insurer leaves a ohio exchange." from bloomberg, anthem exit
creates across for nevadans. recent obamacare insurer exits leaves ii counties without choices. this is it another headline from the "washington free beacon "19th obamacare co-op folds leaving four operating in 2018. across the united states, mr. president, the story is the same. huge premium increases, fewer choices, and a system that is well on its way to complete collapse. in late may the department of health and human services released a report comparing the average individual market insurance premium in 2013, which was the year when most of obamacare's regulations and main dates were implemented, with the average individual market exchange premium in 2017 in the 39 states that use
usehealthcare.gov. between 2017 and 2018, the average premium in the health care states increased by 105% -- 105%, mr. president. that in a four-year time frame since obamacare was implemented. on average, individual market premiums more than doubled in just those few years. in my home state of south dakota premiums increased by 124%, or $3,588. 124% rin crease in premiums -- increase in premiums or $3,588. that is money that south dakota families had to take for other priorities, like saving for reel timer or in -- retirement or investing in their child's education. the average has increased by
$8064 in alaska, by $3,684 in louisiana, by $5,064 in north carolina, by $4,488 in tennessee, by $5,292 in west virginia. and premium hikes aren't over. in fact mrks in many case -- in fact, in many cases they are getting worse. here are some of the premium hikes proposed for 2018. inle maryland one insurer proposed an increase of 52%. an iowa insurer is seeking an average of 43.5% premium increase. in north carolina insurer is pursuing $22.9% hike. a virginia insurer is looking for an average rate increase of 38%. a delaware insurer is looking for an average rate hike of 54
hrn, a maine insurer is seeking a hike of 40%. mr. president, i could go on. remember, these are rate hikes for just one year. the double-digit rate hikes for next year are in addition to years upon years of dramatic obamacare premium increases. mr. president, the obamacare status quo is not sustainable. this law was fatally flawed from the beginning and it is rapidly imploding. the american people need relief. inaction is not an option. my colleagues across the aisle seem to want to do one of two things, first, they want to do nothing, which would leave americans worse off than they are now or they want to double down on obamacare's failures by giving the government even more control over americans' health care and then raising americans' taxes to pay for it.
mr. president, neither one of these so-called slawtions will -- solutions will provide relief to the american people. republicans are committed to providing real health care to the millions of americans. and we are working on legislation to do that. my colleagues in the house have made a good start and we are working on a new bill in the united states senate. we are working to help millions of americans who were left with no options. we are committed to frame the american people from the onerous obamacare mandate which requires americans to purchase insurance that they may not want or can't afford. we're committed to improving the affordability of health insurance which keeps getting more expensive under obamacare and we're committed to preserving access to care for americans with preexisting conditions. and we're committed to strengthening medicaid for those who need it most by giving states more flexibility while insuring this that -- ensuring
that those who rely on this program don't have the rug pulled out from under them. mr. president, the american people have suffered under obamacare for long enough. it's time to give them some relief and recognized. mr. nelson: thank you, mr. president. i want to speak on behalf of a group of floridians that i have met with that would be tremendously hard hit by the health care bill, whether it be the one that has already been published by the majority leader or some of the iterations that are being discussed. i want to talk on behalf and be the spokesperson for these people who have cried out to me. i want to say