|2:32 PM EST||
George LeMieux, R-FL
Mr. LeMIEUX. I thank the Senator from Nevada.
I don't know that there is a State that is going to be more impacted by cuts in health care for seniors than my State of Florida, with 3 million Floridians on Medicare, almost 1 million on Medicare Advantage. I think it is worth repeating what these cuts are going to mean: $137.5 billion from hospitals that treat seniors. I talked to the director of a hospital district down where I am from, down in south Florida. He said these cuts will be devastating: $120 billion from Medicare Advantage, $14.6
billion from nursing homes that treat seniors, $42 billion from health care for seniors--from home health care, and $7.7 billion from hospice care.
Yesterday, our friends on the other side were trying to convince us and the American people that there are not going to be any cuts to benefits. It is not going to affect health care for seniors because they are going to pay less, but that will just get rid of the waste and the fraud and the abuse.
Everyone is against waste fraud and abuse. We have a measure on this side of the aisle that actually, I think, would do something about it. We have gone through the Reid bill to find all [Page: S12536]
the provisions. My staff and I have been going through it, line by line, to find all the provisions that go after waste, fraud, and abuse--and there are some, to their credit. But the Congressional Budget Office has said, in their report that came out on November 18,
the provisions that go toward waste, fraud, and abuse would cut $1.5 billion and create that efficiency. But the cuts are $464 billion. So if they are going to save $1.5 billion and there is going to be $464 billion in cuts, where are the rest of the cuts going to come from?
It is, as my friend, the Senator from Tennessee, said, seniors are going to get thrown under the bus. But you are not going to be able to cut $464 billion, only get $1.5 billion in savings, and not cut benefits. So seniors who want to go to the hospital are going to have their benefits cut; seniors who have home health care, their benefits are going to get cut and all the way down the line. Everyone needs to understand that at its base, this is a bill that hurts seniors.
Perhaps no State is going to be impacted more than Florida, where we have this huge population of seniors. I know my friend from Nevada has a huge population of seniors in his State. We have the highest per capita number of seniors. We like to say all the rest of the seniors in the country are eventually going to move to Florida anyway. We are going to have the greatest generation--we have them there now--we are going to have more of them living in Florida, and their health care is going to get
This bill cuts from health care for seniors, it raises taxes, and it doesn't decrease the cost of health care for the 170 million Americans who have health insurance now. For some, it raises it.
For me, a new Member to this body, it does not make any sense. But what does make sense is what my esteemed colleague from New Hampshire has done with this amendment. If you are for health care for seniors and you do not want it to be cut and if you are true to your word that we have to put the savings back into Medicare, then this bill, which says as its purpose ``to prevent Medicare from being raided for new entitlements and to use Medicare savings to save Medicare''--I cannot imagine that
anyone could vote against that amendment, because if you vote against that amendment, you are voting against senior health care.
I ask my colleague from New Hampshire, who has so much experience on these budget issues, if this amendment is not agreed to, what is going to happen to the Medicare program?