Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on Dec 21st, 2009 :: 3:38:20 to 3:47:00
Total video length: 7 hours 41 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar Alexander

3:38:16 to 3:38:39( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: tennessee, are there concerns that you have about the cuts to medicare and how they're going to impact on the care of people in your home state? mr. alexander: i thank the senator from wyoming appreciate his leadership on this bill. it's of tremendous value to have within our body two practicing medical doctors to help us interpret the effect of this

Lamar Alexander

3:38:20 to 3:47:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

3:38:40 to 3:39:00( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: bill which affects all 300 million americans and so dramatically. we find when we discuss it with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle that we sometimes becomes exasperated with one another because it seems like they're talking about one set of facts and we're talking about another set of facts. what i'd like to do is take just

Lamar Alexander

3:39:01 to 3:39:23( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: a moment and talk about medicare. and then i see thessistant republican leader, the whip, on the floor. i know he may have a number of things he wants to talk about. but i have a question i want to propound to him in just a moment. let's take medicare just a moment. to anyone w

Lamar Alexander

3:39:24 to 3:39:44( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: you hear the democrats say "we're saving medicare." that's one of the three things they have been trained to say. we're saving medicare, werl extending its debaters extending its length. you hear the democrats say we're cutting it.

Lamar Alexander

3:39:45 to 3:40:06( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: who's rig? medicare, of course, is the program that -- it's a government program. 40 million -- 40 million -- seniors, maybe closer to 45 million now depend on it. we all pay into it and then when we get to be of a certain age in our 60's, we depend on it for

Lamar Alexander

3:40:07 to 3:40:27( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: our medical care. for many americans, it's very, very important. and it was established with broad bipartisan support in the 1960's. now what are the proposals that have to do with medicare? well, basically half this health

Lamar Alexander

3:40:28 to 3:40:50( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: care bill is paid for by reductions in the growth of federal spending for medicare. those are medicare cuts. now who says they are? well, the president of the united states, for one, says we'll have no deficit. and so the way we're going to do that for this congressional budget office

Lamar Alexander

3:40:51 to 3:41:12( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: figures show us, will cost $2.5 trillion over ten years when fully implemented is basically paid cuts and one half by new taxes, give the democrats credit for that. that helps to avoid a large part of the deficit. and the sending a huge bill to states to

Lamar Alexander

3:41:13 to 3:41:35( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: help pay for another big government program called medicaid. i'll leave that to the side for a moment. the medicare cuts, the reductions in the spending for medicare, are $466 billion over the first ten years. really six. and over a fully implemented ten

Lamar Alexander

3:41:36 to 3:41:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: years it's about medicare cut that's money coming out of the medicare program and going somewhere. now where does it go? well, it goes to srt a new program. what's wrong with that? well, one thing wrong with it is the trustees of medicare.

Lamar Alexander

3:41:58 to 3:42:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: these aren't republican trustees or the democratic trustees. these are the men and women whose job it is to report to the nation on the condition of this program that takes care of 40 million people and their medicare, the trustees say that there is coming out of medicare than is being paid in by those of us who pay in.

Lamar Alexander

3:42:19 to 3:42:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: by the year 2015 or 2017, it will be insolvent. that means going broke fplt and already we -- that means going broke. already we see the medicare program is under some stress. the doctors, for example, who serve medicare are only paid about 83% or 84% as much as doctors who serve patients with private health care.

Lamar Alexander

3:43:04 to 3:43:24( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: low-income americans, where ab50% of doctors -- where about 50% of doctors won't take a new medicaid patient. it's like giving somebod a ticket to a bus line where the bus to the bus line every five minutes. what the republicans are saying is by taking $1 trillion out of

Lamar Alexander

3:43:25 to 3:43:46( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: medicare -- and there is no dispute about that amot of money, none whatsoever, and spending it to pay for this new program, not for medicare, that somehow that's good for medicare and the seniors who depend on it. they're suggesting that we believe if you te $135 billion from hospitals and $120 billion

Lamar Alexander

3:43:47 to 3:44:08( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: from the 11 million seniors who participate in medicare advaage and $15 billion from nursing homes and $40 billion from home health agencies and $7 billion from hospices that somehow that's good for seniors. perhaps it could be ifll that money were put back into medicare, if the money were taken from grandma and spent on grandma.

Lamar Alexander

3:44:09 to 3:44:30( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: but, no, this money is taken out and spent on a new program. and director of t congressional budget office -- not a republican, not a democrat, the nonpartisan director said for the 11 million medicare advantage patients, that's one-fourth of everybody in medicare, he said one half of

Lamar Alexander

3:44:31 to 3:44:52( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: their benefits will be diminished. that's what he said about these cuts. and even when it's all said and done -- and i'm about through in explaining this -- when it's all said and done we completely leave out the quarter of a

Lamar Alexander

3:44:53 to 3:45:14( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: trillion dollars we need to appropriate to pay physicians who serve medicare patients. if we don't their payments are going to be cut by 21% next year and fewer of them will be medica patients. we already heard that the mayo clinic is beginning to restrict some patients on medicare

Lamar Alexander

3:45:15 to 3:45:35( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: because they lost $840 million serving medicare patients hrafpt year. that's just one thing wrong wh this bill. but when you hear the other side say they're helping medicare and when you listen to what i just said about how can you trillion out of the medicare program which is going broke, when it's fully implemented over ten years and claim that you're helping medicare by starting a

Lamar Alexander

3:45:36 to 3:45:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: new program. i don't think that's possible, mr. president. and that's the source of the great concern on our side of the aisle on, about this bill on that one issue. i seat assistant republican leader, the whip, and i've heard a number of people say -- and i'll propound this question and then i'll yield the floor if i may, to the senator from, but

Lamar Alexander

3:45:58 to 3:46:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: hearing them say why are you republicans keeping everybody in here this week? we want to go home and see our families. we all want to see our families, mr. president. but, there is a reason why this bill was us in the middle of the greatest snowstorm in the history of washington on one day and we

Lamar Alexander

3:46:19 to 3:46:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: were asked to start voting on it in the middle of the night on the same day and to finish the work by christmas. if i'm not mistaken -- and this is my question to the distinguished assistant republican leader, who's been here a number of years, who's in the leadership and whose job is to help manage the floor -- is it not entirely the prerogative of the majority

Lamar Alexander

3:46:41 to 3:47:01( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: senate to schedule what comes up on the floor? is that not his job? isn't it true that if senator reid wanted to say, let's take this bill down, let's go home, let's let the people hear about it, let's come back and vote on it after christmas, after new year, after valentine's day? could he not do that and isn't

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