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Senate Proceeding 02-01-11 on Feb 1st, 2011 :: 2:58:55 to 3:16:30
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Benjamin L. Cardin

2:58:51 to 2:59:11( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: that's their health. mr. president, with that, i -- i yield the balance of my time. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i listened to my friend from south dakota and i was thinking back about how long we have been debating health care reform and if we were to repeal the bill that we enacted last year how

Benjamin L. Cardin

2:58:55 to 3:16:30( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Benjamin L. Cardin

Benjamin L. Cardin

2:59:12 to 2:59:32( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: long it would be before we would be able to get back to serious health care changes. it took us a year to debate and pass the bill that was ultimately signed by the president, but it took us 30 years to get to the subject. and several administrations, both democrat and republican, that offered proposals where we

Benjamin L. Cardin

2:59:33 to 2:59:54( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: could bring down the cost of health care and make it more available to the people of this country. we -- we brag, and rightly so, that we have the highest call, most technologically advanced health care in the world in the united states. i look at my own state of maryland and i know that people come from all over the world to get their health care needs met

Benjamin L. Cardin

2:59:55 to 3:00:15( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: and get their doctors trained, whether it's at johns hopkins university or university of maryland medical center, what's happening at n.i.h. i know the president can tell us about the great institutions in the state of pennsylvania. and that's true. but the problem is that it's out of the reach for too many americans. it's too expensive. we don't have access to care in

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:00:16 to 3:00:37( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: too many communities here in america. and the congress last year did something about that. we took major steps forward to help the people of our nation. i've gotten hundreds of letters and phone calls from people in maryland who told me their stories about fighting health insurance companies or their

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:00:38 to 3:01:00( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: story about trying to get access to -- to preventive health care and how they were denied under our current system. i've talked to the seniors of maryland and i know how expensive health care is to them. yeah, seniors are very fortunate in that they have medicare, but seniors as an age group have the highest out-of-pocket cost of any group of americans. if you -- there's too many gaps in the system.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:01:01 to 3:01:23( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: we have to improve the system. and the problem i have with senator mcconnell's amendment is that if we repeal what we did last year, we've got to understand what consequences that will mean, because we're not sure when congress will be able to deal with this subject again. it might be 30 years from now. and if we just repeal the bill,

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:01:24 to 3:01:45( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: as suggested by senator mcconnell, the consequences of that action i think will be very damaging to the seniors in maryland and around the nation. and let me tell you why. the bill that we enacted last year started to deal with the gap in coverage for prescription drugs. seniors last year received $250.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:01:46 to 3:02:07( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: this gap, when you spend a couple thousand dollars on prescription medicines, you then have to pay 100% of the costs of your prescription medicines under current law. until you spend another couple thousand. for many seniors, they can't afford that. it means either doing without prescriptions or cutting pills in half, compromising their own health care. i've gotten many letters from

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:02:08 to 3:02:28( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: people in maryland telling me, from seniors who've said, look, i've had to leave a prescription on the counter because i couldn't afford it. and i got medicare and i got coverage under medicare-d but i couldn't afford it because i fell within the coverage gap. do something about it. it's not fair. taking medicines keep me

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:02:29 to 3:02:49( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: healthier. and i should be able to get that coverage here in the wealthiest nation in the world. well, we did something about it last year and the repeal would eliminate that protection. we're going to close totally that coverage gap, that so-called doughnut hole.and this year, 2011, the

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:02:50 to 3:03:11( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: benefits are going to be worth about $500 to the seniors who fall within that coverage gap. that would be lost if the mcconnell amendment were adopted and became law. we can't let that happen. i'm going toll you, next year it'll be an even better benefit, gets up to $2,400 of benefits to our seniors.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:03:12 to 3:03:32( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: that would be lost in we do not -- if we were to repeal the bill. but it goes beyond that. we now are providing a wellness exam every year to our seniors. they'll be able to get covered for their preventive health care. they don't have that today. we expand their benefits. we guarantee that their benefits will be provided. but we go beyond that.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:03:33 to 3:03:54( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: we eliminate a lot of the co-payments on preventive health care. we make the program stronger, increasing the benefits for our seniors. and at the same time we do something which is extremely important: we make the program safer for tomorrow. we extend the solvency of the medicare trust fund for a decade. that's what we did last year.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:03:55 to 3:04:15( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: if we repeal the bill, if the mcconnell amendment became law, the medicare system would be on much weaker ground. making it much more vulnerable through the types -- to the types of of attack that some of my republican colleagues have been talking about, much more likely that that would become reality. that's what this bill means for the seniors of married or the

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:04:16 to 3:04:37( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: seniors of west virginia or the seniors of pennsylvania. that's what it means. that's what we did. we strengthened the frame program. that will be lost, lost, if the mcconnell amendment were to become law. but it goes beyond our seniors. it goes to all families across this nation. i can't tell you how many

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:04:38 to 3:04:58( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: families i have run into who have said to me, senator cardin, we want to cover our children, but under the old law, once they became 21 or 22, they lost coverage. even though they still needed insurance coverage. so we changed that to 26 under this law. you're allowed to be on your parents' policy now until age

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:04:59 to 3:05:20( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: 26. that's the loft land right now. the mcconnell amendment will repeal that. will tell these young people who perhaps have graduated from college, who may be in their first job but they don't have insurance available to them, that they will not have an affordable option for health coverage. it can't on -- they can't be on

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:05:21 to 3:05:42( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: their parents'pologies. do we really want to do that? that doesn't help american families. that moves us in the wrong direction. we've told the private insurance marketplace that your premium that you pay, whether you do it through your work and your employer in your own contributions, the premium that

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:05:43 to 3:06:04( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: you pay, most that have should go for health benefits. it shouldn't go for bonuses for executives it shouldn't go for nonmedical expenses. most of it should go for benefits. the bill we passed last year says that now 80-to 85% of the premium that you pay for your health insurance must go for benefits.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:06:05 to 3:06:25( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: and if it doesn't, we'll get a rebate. the money will actually come back to you in your pocket. that's taking on the private insurance companies. telling them that they have to work within at least acceptable ranges. that's going to provide real benefits, improved coverage for the people of this nation. if the mcconnell amendment

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:06:26 to 3:06:46( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: were to become law, that would be lost. you truly would be at the mehrive your private insurance companies. -- at the mercy of your private insurance companies. how many constituents have we heard from who told us examples of the insurance companies using preexisting conditions to block their coverage? i could tell you about a family in montgomery county, maryland, a husband and wife and two

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:06:47 to 3:07:08( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: children had to take out two insurance policies because the insurance company said that one of their children had a preexisting condition. they had to take out two insurance plans, paying two premiums, two deductibles. that's outrageous. we have done away with preexisting conditions for our children. and we're going to do away with

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:07:09 to 3:07:29( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: preexisting conditions for all americans, as we should. if you buy insurance that protection you -- i was really surprised to learn of how many americans, if they tried to buy snrurns today without -- to buy insurance today without government protection would run into an insurance company that would tell them that they have a preefnlt if you have high blood

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:07:30 to 3:07:50( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: pressure, even if it is under control, a preexisting condition. god forbid you should need to see a cardiologist -- not covered. if you have high cholesterol, take a pill, it is under control, you think you're in good shape because you can eat whatever you want, your cholesterol numbers are still good. not for your insurance company. that has been considered a preexisting condition.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:07:51 to 3:08:12( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: you are a victim of domestic violence. that's considered a preexisting condition. quite frankly, i think some insurance companies considered women to be a preexisting condition, the way they wrote their policies. but we doway with that. and if the mcconnell amendment were to become law, all of that protection that was done last year, iters a gone. and if you think we'll be ail to

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:08:13 to 3:08:34( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: pass it again quickly in this congress, come down here and watch the way congress works. 30 years it took us to bring this bill up and to get it passed. these are protections that are critically important to families in this nation, and we need to make sure that these are protected. caps -- you buy an insurance plan and you find out you have annual caps and lifetime caps.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:08:35 to 3:08:55( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: what you thought you were buying, protection against cat strove iraq, it is not there. we have done away with the caps. protecting american families -- that would be gone, if the mcconnell amendment were to become law. i have heard a lot of discussion about small businesses. i tell you, one of the reasons i worked so hard for the passage of the affordable care act is to

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:08:56 to 3:09:16( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: help small businesses in our community. they are discriminated against. it costs a small business owner more for the same coverage, the same coverage for its employees as a large company. on average it is about 20% higher for smaller companies to ensure their -- to insure their employees. that's just wrong. we take steps to correct that

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:09:17 to 3:09:37( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: immediately by giving small businesses a credit. we help them make it more affordable for them to cover their employees. now, i heard my colleagues complain the premiums are going up. yes, premiums are going up because of the current system, the one that we have changed, are in the process of changing. it is going to take some time

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:09:38 to 3:09:58( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: for us to get full implementation of that law. that's understandable. it's wrong. i wish we could do more to bring it down quicker. but for this bill, the premiums would be even higher. we know that. this bill helps us to start to get a handle on helping small businesses have affordable

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:09:59 to 3:10:19( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: coverage for their employees. and, once again, if the mcconnell amendment were adopted and became larks that protection, that help for small businesses would be lost. let me talk about taxpayers for one there's a lot of us discussion on both sides of the aisle -- and i hope we are able to reach an agreement to bring down the deficit in this country; we need

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:10:20 to 3:10:42( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: to do that for the casket our economy, for our children and grandchildren. it is wrong for us to pass on our debt to future generations. we need to be serious about deficit reduction. and i hope we do come up with a game plan in order to bring that about. but you don't do that by repealing the health reform tbhail our own congressional

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:10:43 to 3:11:03( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: budget office, our independent evaluator, tells us that by peeling that bill will add about -- repealing this bill will add about $1.5 trillion over to the national deficit over the next 20 years. now, i know that people are listening to me and may not believe what i say. i understand that. i understand there's been a lot

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:11:04 to 3:11:24( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: of misinformation that's been given out there. and my colleagues on both sides of the io aisle have tried to oversell this. but let me tell you something. the congressional budget office is our independent evaluator. i remember when senator rockefeller was worki bill. we thought we had a pretty good understanding of how to bring the bill out.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:11:25 to 3:11:47( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: but, unfortunately, the congressional budget office said we can't give you all the savings that you think you're going to get by keeping people healthier. senator rockefeller and the finance committee had to go back and find some additional savings in order to meet congressional budget office's requirement. so that we made sure that we didn't add to the deficit of the country. in fact, we reduced deficit of

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:11:48 to 3:12:08( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: the country with this bill. so what do my republicans in the house do, my colleagues, do? they say, the congressional budget office does do anything? if we do that with every bill we pass here, mr. president, we will never attack the deficit of this country. we have to have objective rules about what we do that impacts

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:12:09 to 3:12:29( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: the deficit. one thing is clear by the objective scorekeepers. the mcconnell amendment will add $1.5 trillion to the national debt, because of what we were able to do in the affordable care act. now, we could argue this from many different sides. i am always amazed at my frefnedzs on the other side of

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:12:30 to 3:12:50( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: the aisle who say, look, this is what the american people wanted us to do. i've looked at all these polls that go back and forth and the americans are divide on this issue. but most americans want us to move forward. they want us to deal with job creation and job growth and that's exactly what the bill that my friend from west virginia has brought forward in the if a bill -- and i am going

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:12:51 to 3:13:15( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: to talk about that at a different time, mr. chairman. it is a very important bill for the american peevment it is going to make our air traffic safer. it is also going to create more jobs in our community, the exact type of bill that we should be bringing foompletd we should be working today to create more jobs and keep more jobs. that's what this underlying bill does.

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:13:16 to 3:13:36( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: the mcconnell amendment. thal that won't create jobs. that will add to the deficit. make it harder to keep afford baling hefnlg i do invite my republican friends. we should be working together on this bill. we should be working on ways to improve health care in america. we never said we completed our work last yea

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:13:37 to 3:13:57( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: we know there's ways to improve health care in this country. let's work today to do that. but let's not go backwards. let's move forward. let's create the jobs that we need for our economy. let's continue to make health care access to believe more and more americans and afford to believe more and more americans let's provide the quality care

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:13:58 to 3:14:18( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: that's befitting this great nation to all of our citizens. in my own state of maryland we have a person who we will never forget, a 12-year-old who lived in prince georges county maryland, the wealthiest nation in the world. in 2007, he needed to see a

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:14:19 to 3:14:39( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: dentist but had no health insurance. so his mom tried to get thoim a dentist. no dentist would treat him because he had no money. so he went to a social worker, the parents went to a social worker, his mom took him there. made a lot of no -- no one would treat him. his condition got worse, and he went to an emergency room, which

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:14:40 to 3:15:00( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: is what happens with a lot of people who have no health insurance. you talk about ways of saving money, one of the ways is to bring people out of the emergency rooms into preventive care, into our clinics and get them the health care they need. monty driver went to an emergency room months after he should have seen a dentist because his tooth had become

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:15:01 to 3:15:23( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: abscessed and had gone into his brain and he had severe headaches. he went to the emergency room because of his headaches. and they found that the only way that he had chance to save his life is through emergency surgery. two surgeries later, a quufort a million dollars spent, where it would have cost $80 to take care of his need, devment amonte

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:15:24 to 3:15:44( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: driver lost his life in 2007 in the wealthiest nation in the world. i understand health care is personal to every person in this nation. and that everyone looks to how they're going to be taken care of in this health care bill, and that's the way you should. we think the overwhelming majority of americans benefit by the bill that we passed last

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:15:45 to 3:16:05( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: year. but i would hope every american wants to make sure we have no more deamonte drivers, that every person has access to affordable, quality care. and that was the signature accomplishment in the last congress. we did it in a way that helped our seniors, that helped our families, that helped small

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:16:06 to 3:16:27( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: business, that helped our taxpayers, and helped america to become at long last a nation that said, health care is a right, into the privilege. all that's lost if the mcconnell amendment were to become law. i urge my colleagues to think before they vote on this amendment. as to whether you want to be on the right side of an issue that

Benjamin L. Cardin

3:16:28 to 3:16:30( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: i think has helped define the nation that we are.

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