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House Proceeding 07-23-09 on Jul 23rd, 2009 :: 1:44:05 to 2:05:10
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Keith Ellison

1:44:05 to 2:05:10( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Keith Ellison

Keith Ellison

1:44:20 to 1:44:42( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: objection. mr. ellison: mr. speaker, mr. speaker, what a pleasure it is to claim this hour, this special order, on behalf of the congressional progressive caucus, the congressional progressive caucus is the body of members of congress who believe that we're all bet ever a -- better off together than we are separated and apart.

Keith Ellison

1:44:43 to 1:45:03( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: we believe that we need a mixed economy in which, yes, people are entitled to pursue thr private dreams and make their money, but also there are certain things we should do together, things like take care of the water, thin provide for transportation, things like provide for education and things like health care.

Keith Ellison

1:45:04 to 1:45:24( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: body of people here in the congress who stand by the idea that the civil rights movement was a great moment in american history. that f.d.r. and the new deal was another great moment in american history. that the steps forward to end slavery was a great moment in american history and yet the great moments in american history have not yet been written but are really still in front of us.

Keith Ellison

1:45:25 to 1:45:46( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: we still have more people to bring in to the embrace of this great american ideal, this progressive ideal, this idea that america's not yet done the best it can do. we have more people to include, more people to help find that internal light of their own and that this is the time to walk

Keith Ellison

1:45:47 to 1:46:10( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: forward into that history. we have the progssive -- the congressional progressive caucus that comes together today. we stard out, mr. speaker, as a group that said we would like to see in the area of health care a single pair system. this was our position. but we've compromised because we're practical progressives. we said we can have health care

Keith Ellison

1:46:11 to 1:46:32( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: reform if we have a public option but we can't go any further than that. there must be a public option in the health care plan and it looks like we're going to have one. we're excited about the prospect of seeing this public option. it appears as though it's moving forward, mr. speaker, and it's a good thing because it's what america needs. it's what america needs.

Keith Ellison

1:46:33 to 1:46:54( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: this is the progressive message and we're here to talk about health care tonight. health care, mr. speaker, is the boiler issue, it's the issue that's all the talk around the congress. it is the issue that's all the talk around america. and the fact of the matter is, mr. speaker, it is a fact, it is a belief, a firmly held belief of my own, that health care is a

Keith Ellison

1:46:55 to 1:47:16( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: movement that is essentially a civil rights movement. it has the same level of intensity as that movement. and it has the same urgency as that movement. and i'm inspired by the words of martin luther king, mr. speaker, who said that we have the fierce urgency of now, the fierce urgency of now, that we can't say that somebody el can get

Keith Ellison

1:47:17 to 1:47:42( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: their freedom at some other time, at a more convenient time, at a time when it makes sense and it's comfortable for everybody. no, he sai civil rights now, not later, and i have to say today, we got to have health care for all right now, not later. the fierce urgency of now, mr. speaker, and i want to let you know, mr. speaker, that when i was watching television last

Keith Ellison

1:47:43 to 1:48:03( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: night i was tuned in to president barack obama and i want to let you know i was very proud of president obama last night, mr. speaker. president obama came before the american people and articulated a case as skillfully as any argue or oratorer ever could for health care, health care now.

Keith Ellison

1:48:04 to 1:48:25( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: and the thing that really grabbed my attention speaker, is when he was asked by a reporter, why does it have to be now? and the reporter asked in somewhat of a challenging and slightly dericive tone of voice, why does it have to be now? can't it be some other time? mr. speaker, president obama said, you know, i can't delay it

Keith Ellison

1:48:26 to 1:48:47( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: , when i read the letters that i get, the letters tell me that we've got to act now. we can't put it off another day. we've got to do it now and i actually was cheering at the television screen as president obama was saying these thing it's so nice to have a president that you truly believe in and agree with and think is a real champion for the people who elected him.

Keith Ellison

1:48:48 to 1:49:08( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: and so in that spirit of president obama saying that he -- the letters and the stories people are going through propel him toward action, let me share a few stories of my own, mr. speaker, because my constituents write me letters, too, and those help move me and motivate me toward action for true health care reform.

Keith Ellison

1:49:09 to 1:49:29( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: instead of hitting you first with the facts and figures and all those things, i just want to start out tonight, mr. speaker, with stories, letters from my constituents. let me talk about mary from minneapolis, minnesota. mary says, my daughter needed her wisdom teeth out.

Keith Ellison

1:49:30 to 1:49:50( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: at the same time with insurance we were told to pay $375, which we did. then got billed over $1,000, resubmitted eventually the amount was reduced to $750. in the meantime my husband got no paycheck. i've -- i have calcium deposits in my back which make it

Keith Ellison

1:49:51 to 1:50:11( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: difficult to walk and i can't afford the co-pays so i'm waiting until it's so bad that i can't walk. mr. speaker, mary needs help. mary needs a caring, committed government that's listening to her and is going to help bring forth legislation which can

Keith Ellison

1:50:12 to 1:50:33( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: allow her to work with her doctor and her health care provider with the solutions that she needs. no government official in the middle between mary and her health care provider. that's nothing but spooky, scary stuff and it's not true. let's hear from denise. i find more and more often that my family and i are skipping

Keith Ellison

1:50:34 to 1:50:55( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: doctor visits for preventive care and when we would have made a visit to the doctor in the past, but now can't afford the co-payments to be seen. this is especially true for childhood illnesses such as allergy visits or dental problems that could potentially be serious. and injuries that in reality

Keith Ellison

1:50:56 to 1:51:18( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: should be checked out by a doctor. my family is insured yet because of our current -- because of our current employment situation combined with rising health care costs, it has come out of each -- out of reach for -- to have the kind of health care we have enjoyed in the past.

Keith Ellison

1:51:19 to 1:51:40( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: i feel that we are being left behind for an inability to be able to bear the burden of the cost. this may mean that we will pay dealer in the future for things that could have been prevented or less serious had they been able to see a doctor initially. you know, as i listen to denise from minneapolis' story, i'm

Keith Ellison

1:51:41 to 1:52:01( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: thinking, mr. speaker, about the things, the larger trends in our society that are sweeping her up. and affecting her. she's talking about being insured, having a job, but having to go without because of the costs of co-pays and premiums. well, mr. speaker, one of these startling facts that you might want to know is that over the

Keith Ellison

1:52:02 to 1:52:23( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: last nine years premiums have insurance. and while wages have been flat, premiums have been increasing much faster thanl wages have and -- wage -- than wages have and this has made a squeeze on the household american budget. denise need as hand, mr. speaker. denise needs somebody to care.

Keith Ellison

1:52:24 to 1:52:46( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: janice from golden valley, minnesota. i've worked every day since i turned 15 and i'm currently 51, married with two teenage children. i have a college degree. we've always lived a balanced and frugal life. we do not take exotic trips and mostly by generic thrift or

Keith Ellison

1:52:47 to 1:53:10( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: discount -- mostly wear generic or thrift store clothing. i bring home less and less each year due primarily to health care premiums and costs. health care premiums and co-pays cost about 25% to 30% of my income. health care premiums cost me more than my federal, state, social security, union dues and

Keith Ellison

1:53:11 to 1:53:32( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: retirement plan deduction combined from my paycheck. the increase has been so great that we have stopped being able to contribute to savings for four years. the one thing i fear more than anything is me or my family member getting sick because of what treatment will cost even beyond the premium costs. when i have a strange new

Keith Ellison

1:53:33 to 1:53:54( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: sensation in my eye or a vein hurting in my leg or a dull pa in my chest, i just pray it will go away on its own because i'm afraid of what it will cost me. we pay out so much for health care insurance yet we cannot afford to really even use it. and i feel even worse for those who have no health insurance at all.

Keith Ellison

1:53:55 to 1:54:16( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: this reflects badly on what america has become, a place where only the wealthiest survive and profit by a few takes priority over the basic needs of all. mr. speaker, let me tell you about the story of anita and i'm armed with statistics tonight, mr. speaker, and i have them, but they don't mean a thing next

Keith Ellison

1:54:17 to 1:54:38( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: to the stories of these citizens, these good, honest americans from my state of minnesota whose stories i want to bring to you tonight. let me talk to you about cynthia from minnesota. cynthia says, as an asthmatic and a mother of an asthmatic, i would think the insurance company would be happy that we

Keith Ellison

1:54:39 to 1:54:59( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: go for our annual checkup and are willing to -- would be willing to cover our medicines so we stay healthy and don't end up costing them more much to my surprise the insurance company would not cover our asthma checks and the cost of our prescriptions has gone through the roof. unfortunately our meds are not

Keith Ellison

1:55:00 to 1:55:20( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: part of the formlary drug list. what ends up happening is i cover my child's meds and i don't get any. i just hope we're other if i have an attack. mr. speaker, that's no way to treat americans who are trying to make it in this society. how about this one?

Keith Ellison

1:55:21 to 1:55:41( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: maria from minnesota, my daughter is 24, she has, ok, a -- an ovarian disease since she was 15, requiring three surgeries, five hospital visits and many, many office calls. this is a chronic condition which will probably result in infertility or in the least

Keith Ellison

1:55:42 to 1:56:04( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: difficulty in achieving pregnancy. this is physical draing as she is often in pain and has been on many narcotics pain meds, including vicatin and perk set. in addit having children is a tough thing to face as a teenager and yng adult. if that wasn't enough, she also has a degenerative disk disease

Keith Ellison

1:56:05 to 1:56:25( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: in her cervical spine. this is resulted -- this has resulted in a herniated disk and chronic constt pain. there is no cure for this and no real treatment. since she's an adult she no longer is eligible to be under our insurance plans. she has a b.a. degree but has not been able to find long-term employment in her field which

Keith Ellison

1:56:26 to 1:56:46( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: would offer benefits. rather, she is managing a bar-restaurant, which is a good job, but it's not what she went to school for. . she's working as a bartender at least 60 hours a week on her feet all the time. she pays her own bills, is on her own, but because of her chronic condition is not able to

Keith Ellison

1:56:47 to 1:57:08( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: get cobra insurance and instead has a policy through a private insurance company paying over $200 a month which doesn't cover many of her needs. this is outrageous. please, please understand she is not sitting at home waiting for a handout. she is so motivated and such a hard worker, but the insurance costs are eating up her paychecks.

Keith Ellison

1:57:09 to 1:57:29( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: she is my hero as i can't imagine facing these conditions and then having minimum coverage while paying the maximum bill. mr. speaker, i just thought i'd start off this progressive hour with some real stories from real people. real stories from real people who are dealing wit a

Keith Ellison

1:57:30 to 1:57:51( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: difficult situation. mr. speaker, let's not relegate them to the status quo. my colleagues, many ever them on the other side of the aisle -- many of them on the other side of theisle, are essentially saying let's keep it how it is. let's stop moving so fast. let's not let this process move along too quickly.

Keith Ellison

1:57:52 to 1:58:14( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: and some have been caught off handedly making the comments that they think that they can take president obama down. is that what this is about? taking somebody down? this should be be about lifting somebody up. the american people lifting them up. not trying to score a partisan point in a political game. this is real life people are going through.

Keith Ellison

1:58:15 to 1:58:37( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: real life like the minnesotans i talked about. as i speak here tonight, mr. speaker, i can assure you that in every state in this union and in every territory of this country there are stories exactly like these. mr. speaker, i want to talk about what the bill actually does a little bit. before i do i want to talk a

Keith Ellison

1:58:38 to 1:59:01( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: little bit about the cost of this first of all, there is this big fear thing about cost and this is one of the major ways that some destractors are trying to stop things -- detraors are trying to stop things. so first let's talk about the individual cost.

Keith Ellison

1:59:02 to 1:59:25( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: the cost to the person. without reform the cost of health care for the average family of four is estimated to rise $1,800 every year for years to come. and insurance companies will make more health care decisions. ok. status quo, hand the insurance

Keith Ellison

1:59:26 to 1:59:47( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: companies $1,800 every year, in two years that's $3,600, in four years more than that. the fact is this is the status quo. and i was so proud to hear president obama last night saying, if somebody offered you a plan that was going to double -- guarantee to double in cost, and was going to push more people into the ranks of the uninsured, would you want that?

Keith Ellison

1:59:48 to 2:00:08( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: because that's what we have now. again, another brilliant or ftorekal flourish rooted in the truth. so what cost $1,800 every year estimated to increase. let's talk about the individual costs a little more. if we have if we have health care reform,

Keith Ellison

2:00:09 to 2:00:29( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: mr. speaker, no more co-pays or deductibles for preventive care. that will help a family budget. no more rate increases for pre-existing conditions, gender, or occupation. that will help the family budget. no more annual cap on out-of-pocket expenses. that's going to help the family budget.

Keith Ellison

2:00:30 to 2:00:51( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: group rates of a national pool if you buy your own plan. that should hold costs down. guaranteed affordable oral hearing and vision care for your kids. that will definitely help the family budget out. the fact is that this bill is designed to help families deal with the escalating costs of health care.

Keith Ellison

2:00:52 to 2:01:12( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: it's not about increasing costs or increasing debt or anything like that. it's about helping the family budget stay in a place where families can actually get ahead a little bit for the first time in a lock time -- long time. for the first time under a budget, under an economic

Keith Ellison

2:01:13 to 2:01:34( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: philosophy where the rich didn't have enough and the poor had too much in the minds of some people. the fact is, mr. speaker, we need to talk about cost tonight. we need to talk about it. i want to go now to a recent -- the c.b.o. budget scores have been tossed around a lot. we have heard a lot about what the c.b.o. says.

Keith Ellison

2:01:35 to 2:01:55( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: the c.b.o. says this and that. let me talk about what the c.b.o. actually says, really says. on july 17, the congressional budget office released estimates confirming, confirming that the health care insurance reform policies of h.r. 3200, america's affordable health care choices

Keith Ellison

2:01:56 to 2:02:17( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: act, are deficit neutral over 10-year budget window. that means that they don't add to the budget. they are deficit neutral. even producing a $6 billion surplus. c.b.o. estimated that the cost of the bill's insurance reforms was, $1.042 trillion while the bill's cost savings and revenues

Keith Ellison

2:02:18 to 2:02:38( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: totaled about $1.48 trillion. this is over a 10-year period. c.b.o. estimated that these reforms will provide affordable coverage for 97% of americans two years after the program starts. now, that's really something, mr. speaker. it was also reported in the press, c.b.o. also estimated

Keith Ellison

2:02:39 to 2:02:59( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: that the overall bill has a net cost of $239 billion over 10 years, but this is entirely due to additional provisions in the bill to maintain current medicare physi rates. costing $245 billion over 10 years. by preventing scheduled draconian cuts. the house agreed earlier this

Keith Ellison

2:03:00 to 2:03:20( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: year that this $245 would be exempt from pay-go. the president's budget acknowledged the flawed medicare physician payment formula and allotted money to address it. then in voting for the budget resolution in april, the house voted to exempt medicare physician payment provisions from pay-go. the statutory pay-go bill to be

Keith Ellison

2:03:21 to 2:03:41( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: considered by the house this week, passed through the house this week, also exempts provisions -- these provisions from pay-go. mr. speaker, let m also add that this bill preserves and increases options, plan options. those eligible for the exchange and i'll talk about that in a moment, choose from all option, private and public, no one can steer em to any particular

Keith Ellison

2:03:42 to 2:04:03( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: plan. c.b.o. projects that by the year 2019, about nine million to 10 million americans, or a little more than 3% of americans will choose the public option. c.b.o. projects that the most of these using exchange will choose private sector plans. this confirms that the bill creates a level playing field where a public option will

Keith Ellison

2:04:04 to 2:04:25( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: compete with private plans on a fair basis and that the public plan will not necessarily push them out of existence. again, i'm a single payer. i wanted to talk about a little bit about this cost because this is the very thing that detractors are using to try to scare americans away from real health care reform with.

Keith Ellison

2:04:26 to 2:04:46( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: i think americans had deserved bett, they deserve the truth, they should know that this plan is one that's designed to help save them money. let's talk a little bit more about health care costs. health care costs for small businesses have grown 30% since the year 2000. the average family premium costs $1,100 more per year because our

Keith Ellison

2:04:47 to 2:05:08( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: health care system fails to cover everyone. the average individual premium costs $410 or more. the fact is tonight by one of the great, great, great stalwart and heroes of health care reform, none other than john conyers,

Keith Ellison

2:05:09 to 2:05:10( Edit History Discussion )

Keith Ellison: chairman of the committee, second most senior

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