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Kline Statement: Consideration of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act

Thank you Madame Speaker – where do I begin?

We have before us over 2,000 pages of legislative text that continues to be amended with additional changes none of us have had much of any chance to review.

I cannot even begin to convey to you what’s wrong with this bill in the short time available. But let me share just a few of my concerns.

  • A price tag of $1.3 trillion … and counting
  • $730 billion in new taxes
  • $500 billion in cuts to Medicare
  • 118 new offices, bureaus, commissions, and programs
  • 5.5 million lost jobs
  • 43 entitlement programs created, expanded, or extended
  • 3,425 uses of the word “shall” – a polite way to issue a government mandate

Those are the numbers. Here are their consequences:

  • Americans who like their employer-provided health care will lose it
  • Seniors who like their Medicare coverage – especially Medicare Advantage – will lose it
  • Taxpayers will be stuck with the bill for massive new entitlement spending
  • Small businesses will be taxed, and taxed, and taxed again
  • Employers will face new state court liability
  • Federal bureaucrats will determine what health care coverage is “acceptable”
  • Millions of Americans will be pushed into a new, government-run plan modeled on broken government entitlement programs
  • Millions more Americans will be forced into a broken Medicaid system
  • Government-run health care will continue to underpay hospitals and physicians, making it difficult for patients to get care and driving up costs in the rest of the system
  • Junk lawsuits will persist in promoting defensive medicine and high costs

I could go on, but our time is scarce. The few hours we have been given today are simply not enough to spell out the catastrophic consequences this legislation would bring.

We have a choice with this bill and this vote. Sure, we can expand government. It would not be the first time, and I expect it won’t be the last for this Democrat Congress.

First it was the banking system. Then the credit markets. And the auto industry.

The feds are taking over school construction. And college curriculum. And student lending.

Health care is roughly one-sixth of the American economy. It represents jobs and innovation. But more than anything else, health care represents the security and well-being of the American people.

Another government takeover is not the answer.

We need targeted solutions. Our reforms must be meaningful – and they must be fiscally responsible.

We can bring down health care costs without growing the size of government. We can expand access to coverage without inflating broken entitlement programs.

The Republican plan will reduce health care premiums by as much as 10 percent.

Democrats fail to bend the cost curve.

Republicans will reduce the deficit, expand access to coverage, and prevent tax hikes.

Democrats rely on budgetary gimmicks and crippling new taxes.

Republicans keep medical decisions between patients and their doctors.

Democrats empower a new super-bureaucrat with unprecedented authority over personal health care decisions.

This Health Choices Commissioner – heading up the Orwellian Health Choices Administration – will have vast powers to define, deny, deem, determine, assess, establish, and administer benefits and care.

In the remarkably short time since this legislation was released for review, my staff and I have combed these pages to develop a clearer picture of this one individual’s immense authority.

We had to restock our supply of page tabs after this project. As you can see from this document, the sheer number of times this individual is granted a new power in the bill would deplete any office supply store.

The choice is clear. And it is stark.

H.R. 3962 costs too much. Too many Americans will lose their coverage – and their jobs. The American people deserve better.

I don’t believe this bill should ever see the light of day. It is a recipe for massive future job losses and a clear power grab by Washington bureaucrats. We ought to discard it altogether – press the ‘reset’ button and write a better bill. It’s not too late to stop this fiscal and policy train wreck.

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