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Jim M.
Democrat WA 7

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  • Exchange Information Disclosure Act

    by Representative Jim McDermott

    Posted on 2014-01-16

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    McDERMOTT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, what we are engaged in today is what I call loving a bill to death. Every legislator knows how you do it. You load it up with a bunch of stuff to kill it. They are still trying to do this. They are not talking about transparency or accountability. It is simply another plan to muck up the path to better health for Americans.

    It is not surprising, because the House Republicans don't want a health care system that works any more than they want a balanced budget. If they wanted a balanced budget, they wouldn't push for health care policies that cost more to get less.

    America spends more on health care than any other advanced nation, and we get worse outcomes. Let me tell you one of the reasons for that. We spend less on social services. Instead of helping people afford good food to stay in shape, we cut food stamps. Instead of supporting families who care for their parents in the comfort of their home, we force them to push them into nursing homes. Instead of helping people to stay in their homes, instead of strengthening the bridge between job and new career, we pull the rug out from under them.

    And right now, every 8 seconds, another American loses his unemployment insurance. While I am speaking, 15 families will lose their way of supporting themselves.

    Where do these people go? How do they stay healthy? Is it any wonder our diet is full of what we call comfort food? And is it any wonder that we are the most anxious country in the world? Is it any wonder that the ER has become more common than the doctor's office? We can pay now. We can invest in a country where people have jobs. We can help people keep their homes and care for themselves, or we will pay later in skyrocketing health care costs and the economic drag of a sick nation.

    {time} 1115 If Republicans wanted a health care system that works, we would be investing, not wasting our time in forcing States and the Federal Government to spend more on useless bureaucracy.

    Nobody is asking for this. Maybe the insurance companies want to have more data. I don't know. But nobody who is administering this program has said, Let's have more reports. We don't know enough.

    It is like babies; you don't weigh them every day to see if they have gained weight. You take them in every couple of months or every month to get the baby checked. That is what we are doing here already. And they say, No, let's do it every day. Let's do it every week. Let's waste more time and money.

    [[Page H1226]] Vote ``no'' on this wasteful, destructive bill.

    Mr. CAMP. I yield myself the balance of my time.

    Mr. Speaker, the reason this legislation is important is that, from what little information we do have, we know the administration is not meeting their stated goals, and they are not on track to meet 7 million people by March 31. We don't know the mix of people that have enrolled. We don't know how many of them are young and healthy. We don't know how many of them have paid a premium. The reason these things are important for us to know and to track is, this is a big deal. This is one-sixth of the American economy. There is probably no legislative area that affects people more than their health care.

    The reason we have to know this information is because if they aren't meeting their stated goals and their projections in terms of the cost of this bill, it could mean that people's premiums skyrocket next year. It could mean that the physician that they are used to seeing and being treated by, many times for an ongoing illness, may not be available to them under their insurance plan.

    So these are important issues. These are important benchmarks for us to know. It is important for the American people to know. It is important for the media to know. Because then, if we can understand what is really happening as we are in the middle of this, constructive changes could be made to this bill. What they want to do is keep us in the dark. They say vote ``no.'' Make sure we don't know what is going on, and then we will have a health care crisis even greater than the one we have now.

    So I urge a ``yes'' vote on this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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