2:17 PM EST
Bob Corker, R-TN

Mr. CORKER. I know all of us benefit from the Senator's background as a physician and knowledge in the industry. I also thank the Senator from Arizona for spending a lifetime focusing on how special interests affect this body.

I was thinking about this meeting taking place here in the Capitol not far from us from 2 to 3 p.m. with the President and 60 of our colleagues on the left, and I have this image of them being twisted up like pretzels because of the fact there are so many interest groups they have to sort of kowtow to. I have this image of a bunch of them up in a room with a yoga instructor, kind of loosening up, because they are so twisted in knots trying to basically undo all the pledges they have made to so

many groups.

I think about, for instance, Senator Ensign's amendment to deal with medical malpractice, but, no, the trial lawyers keep them from doing that. I think about the kinds of things Senator McCain ran on during his Presidential election campaign, and others of us have looked at, as has Senator Gregg, so that people in this country have choice; that we create a market system that allows people to have choice. But they cannot do that because the unions don't want them to

do so. The unions don't allow them to cap the exclusion, which many of us have talked about. The unions keep them from doing appropriate health care reform, and so instead, what happens, in order to make this work? Again, they are so twisted up. Remember that Peter Orszag, the

major guru within this administration regarding health care, has said the thing that will bend the cost curve down would be these exclusions. I am so glad Senator Gregg, who has the integrity and the longstanding knowledge to deal with this, is offering an amendment.

Yesterday I was challenged on this by Senators on the other side of the aisle, but there is no doubt this bill throws seniors under the bus. We have an insolvent program that money is being taken from to create a whole new entitlement it is leveraging. If that is not throwing seniors under the bus, I don't know what is. So we have a program that is throwing seniors under the bus because the unions cannot be offended, the trial lawyers cannot be offended, so many other groups--AARP cannot be offended--and

then we also lock 15 of the 31 million Americans who are receiving health care into a program none of us would be a part of--Medicaid. And they do that because of their unwillingness to address the free market issues that would make health care work in this country: medical malpractice issues, addressing defensive medicine, capping exclusions, and those kinds of things we Republicans have put forth from day one.

So I think the Senator from Arizona is doing an outstanding job pointing out the conflicts of interest that exist in this bill. We have a group on the other side of the aisle that won't address health care in the appropriate way, and I believe are in another room twisted up in knots with themselves trying to figure out a way to get out of this box they have put themselves into, and a President who is basically giving them a pep talk to keep them from getting out of the box.

I thank the Senator so much.