Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Jul 15th, 2009 :: 3:48:25 to 3:56:40
Total video length: 10 hours 29 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Tom Udall

3:48:12 to 3:48:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: quorum a senator: the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. a senator: is the senate in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes, it is. mr. udall: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: watching the sene

Tom Udall

3:48:25 to 3:56:40( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Udall

Tom Udall

3:48:34 to 3:48:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: floor during debate care reform, i can't help but feel some of my colleagues are a little confused. it's almost as if they've forgotten this discussion is going on in america, not canada. they don't want to talk about the 22,000 americans who died in 2006 because they don't have insurance. they don't want to talk about

Tom Udall

3:48:55 to 3:49:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the more than 500,000 americans who file for bankruptcy after incurring unpayable medical bills. and they don't want to talk about the millions of other americans who worry that they are one layoff away from losing coverage and one heart attack away from losing everything. no, they want to talk about canada.

Tom Udall

3:49:16 to 3:49:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: now, i'm not saying we shouldn't sympathize with our neighbors to the north, but i want to talk about how we can fix the health care system for the american people, for the people of new mexico. since none of the plans we are considering would set up a canadian system. let's look at how we can pass an

Tom Udall

3:49:39 to 3:49:59( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: problems faced by americans. if you like the coverage you have, you should be able to keep it. and none of the plans we are considering would take away the options that americans already have. but the status quo is not enough. we need to give consumers another option.

Tom Udall

3:50:00 to 3:50:20( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: we need to give them the freedom to choose a quality, affordable public health option. after all, what's more american than competion and choice? even if our private market functioned perfectly, it would make sense to give consumers another choice.

Tom Udall

3:50:21 to 3:50:42( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: but our health care system doesn't function perfectly. our system provides too little choice and too little quality at too high a price. too many of america's health care markets are effectively monopolies or, at best, dualopolis.

Tom Udall

3:50:43 to 3:51:04( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: according to a recent study by the american medical association, most american areas are dominated by one private insurer, and others are largely dominated by just two. in new mexico, the top two companies have 65% of the market. to put that in perspective,

Tom Udall

3:51:05 to 3:51:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: dell, compaq, gateway, h.p. and i.b.m. combine for less than 54 of the u.s. personal computer market. i have to believe we can offer our consumers more than two choices of health plans. my state is a rural state, and in rural areas like ours,

Tom Udall

3:51:27 to 3:51:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: consumers often have less choice. they get to pay whatever the local health care plan wants or go without insuran insurance companies have used this monopoly power to offer less and to charge more. as consolidation has increased since 2000, insurers have raised

Tom Udall

3:51:49 to 3:52:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: deductibles and without increasing coverage, and they have continued to make healthy profits while their customers struggle to keep up with rising costs. premiums for employer-sponsored health care have almost doubled since 1999. but rising costs haven't hurt

Tom Udall

3:52:11 to 3:52:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: health the top ten c.e.o.'s manage to pull down $85.4 million in 2008. even worse, what competion we have doesn't keep companies honest. instead, they compete to avoid

Tom Udall

3:52:33 to 3:52:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the poor and the sick. in new mexico, an insurance company can charge a customer more because of a health problem from five years ago or he happens to be 45 years old and not 44. they can even charge a woman more because she might get pregnant. they have every incentive to do

Tom Udall

3:52:54 to 3:53:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: so. when a private insurance turns down somebody who needs help, its profits go up. when it denies needed care, it has more money for its shareholders. that's a broken system. in new mexico, we have seen the

Tom Udall

3:53:15 to 3:53:35( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: impact of unaffordable health care. almost one in four new mexicans is uninsured, and nearly half of our citizens have inadequate coverage. the vast majority of these people are employed, but they and their employers simply cannot afford coverage. a constituent of mine from cedar crest, new mexico, wrote me just

Tom Udall

3:53:36 to 3:53:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the oer day to explain that she and her husband cannot afford to offer their employees' health care manufacturing company they own. the rates for small like theirs are just unaffordable. and ourigh numbers of censured citizens cost the rest of us money.

Tom Udall

3:53:57 to 3:54:18( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: the average family with insurance pays an additional $2,300 just to cover the price of the uninsured. $2,300. if a mican with diabetes has insurance, his insurance company can pay a small amount to have him receive routine tests and treatments from a podiatrist.

Tom Udall

3:54:19 to 3:54:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: but if the new mexico is uninsured, he's less likely to receive checkups. as a result he is more likely to miss the telltale signs of a circulatory problem and twice as likely to need an amputation.

Tom Udall

3:54:40 to 3:55:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: diabetes amputations cost almost $39,000. and new mexico did 366 of these procedures in 2003, for a total of $4.2 million. and when amputated, the operation is only the beginning of the medical services he will need. for the uninsured, those costs fall on every family with insurance.

Tom Udall

3:55:02 to 3:55:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: now some of my colleagues admit that the status quo does not work, but they claim a government regulator can keep the private h.m.o.'s in line. we will not need more regulation if open competition can be more effective. others just claim that a public health care option won't work.

Tom Udall

3:55:23 to 3:55:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: but the evidence suggests otherwise. experts have developed a newspaper of viable plans to give americans the choice of a quality, option. more than 30 state governments offer their employees a choice between private insurance and a state-backed public option, including my state of new mexico.

Tom Udall

3:55:45 to 3:56:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: these states have not found this strategy unworkable. they have not seen public or private coverage dominate the market. their employees just have another choice. what would be wrong with that? the truth is that this congress has a very simple decision to make. we can stick with our current system or we can give americans

Tom Udall

3:56:07 to 3:56:32( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: another option that guarantees quality affordable care. opponents of reforeman don't want to tal about that decision -- opponents of that reform don't want to talk about th decision so they talk about canada, but the decision before us has nothing to do with canada. it is about the american people. they have been stuck in a broken system too long, and it's time to give them another choice.

Tom Udall

3:56:33 to 3:56:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Udall: thank you, mad i note the absence of a quorum. thpresiding officer: the

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