Sunday, August 30, 2009

the Empowering Patients First Act.Short Summary

Empowering Patients First Act

A Solution from the Republican Study Committee for Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care for All Americans.

#1: Access to Coverage for All Americans Makes the purchase of health care financially feasible for all – Extends the income tax deduction (above the line) on health care premiums to those who purchase coverage in the non-group / individual market. And, there is an advanceable, refundable tax credit (on a sliding scale) for low-income individuals to purchase coverage in the non-group / individual market.

Covers pre-existing conditions – Grants states incentives to establish high-risk / reinsurance pools. Federal block grants for qualified pools are expanded.

Protects employer-sponsored insurance – Individuals can be automatically enrolled in an employer-sponsored plan. Small businesses are given tax incentives for adoption of auto-enrollment.

Shines sunlight on health plans – Establishes health plan and provider portals in each state, and these portals act to supply greater information, rather than acting as a purchasing mechanism.

#2: Coverage Is Truly Owned by the Patient.

Grants greater choice and portability – Gives patients the power to own and control their own health care coverage by allowing for a defined contribution in employer-sponsored plans. This also gives employers more flexibility in the benefits offered.

Expands the individual market – Creates pooling mechanisms, such as association health plans and individual membership accounts. Individuals are also allowed to shop for health insurance across state lines.

Reforms the safety net – Medicaid and SCHIP beneficiaries are given the option of a voucher to purchase private insurance. And states must cover 90% of those below 200% of the federal poverty level before they can expand eligibility levels under Medicaid and SCHIP.

#3: Improve the Health Care Delivery Structure

Institutes doctor-led quality measures – Nothing suggested by the Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research can be finalized unless done in consultation with and approved by medical specialty societies. It also establishes performance-based quality measures endorsed by the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI) and physician specialty organizations.

Reimburses physicians to ensure continuity of care – Rebases the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and establishes two separate conversion factors (baskets) for primary care and all other services. Promotes healthier lifestyles – Allows for employers to offer discounts for healthy habits through wellness and prevention programs.

Pillar #4: Rein in Out-of-Control Costs
Reforms the medical liability system – Establishes administrative health care tribunals, also known as health courts, in each state, and adds affirmative defense through provider-established best practice measures. It also encourages the speedy resolution of claims and caps non-economic damages.

Pays for the plan – The cost of the plan is completely offset through decreasing defensive medicine, savings from health care efficiencies (reduce DSH payments), ferreting out waste, fraud, and abuse, plus an annual one-percent non-defense discretionary spending step down.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

President Barack Obama Weekly Address 08/29/09 PODCAST VIDEO TEXT

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Saturday, August 29, 2009 Washington, DC PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE Download MP3 4.51 mb MP4 VIDEO (90 MB)

This weekend marks the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf Coast. As we remember all that was lost, we must take stock of the work being done on recovery, while preparing for future disasters. And that is what I want to speak with you about today.

None of us can forget how we felt when those winds battered the shore, the floodwaters began to rise, and Americans were stranded on rooftops and in stadiums. Over a thousand people would lose their lives. Over a million people were displaced. Whole neighborhoods of a great American city were left in ruins. Communities across the Gulf Coast were forever changed. And many Americans questioned whether government could fulfill its responsibility to respond in a crisis, or contribute to a recovery that covered parts of four states.
President Barack Obama Weekly Address 08/29/09Since taking office in January, my Administration has focused on helping citizens finish the work of rebuilding their lives and communities, while taking steps to prevent similar catastrophes going forward.
Our approach is simple: government must keep its responsibility to the people, so that Americans have the opportunity to take responsibility for their future.

That is the work that we are doing. To date, eleven members of my Cabinet have visited the Gulf Coast, and I’m looking forward to going to New Orleans later this year. To complete a complex recovery that addresses nearly every sector of society, we have prioritized coordination among different federal agencies, and with state and local governments. No more turf wars – all of us need to move forward together, because there is much more work to be done.

I have also made it clear that we will not tolerate red tape that stands in the way of progress, or the waste that can drive up the bill. Government must be a partner – not an opponent – in getting things done. That is why we have put in place innovative review and dispute resolution programs to expedite recovery efforts, and have freed up hundreds of millions of dollars of federal assistance that had not been distributed. This is allowing us to move forward with stalled projects across the Gulf Coast – building and improving schools; investing in public health and safety; and repairing broken roads, bridges and homes. And this effort has been dramatically amplified by the Recovery Act, which has put thousands of Gulf Coast residents to work.

As we complete this effort, we see countless stories of citizens holding up their end of the bargain. In New Orleans, hundreds of kids just started the school year at Langston Hughes elementary, the first school built from scratch since Katrina. The St. Bernard Project has drawn together volunteers to rebuild hundreds of homes, where people can live with dignity and security. To cite just one hopeful indicator, New Orleans is the fastest growing city in America, as many who had been displaced are now coming home.

As we rebuild and recover, we must also learn the lessons of Katrina, so that our nation is more protected and resilient in the face of disaster. That means continuing to rebuild hundreds of miles of levees and floodwalls around New Orleans, and working to strengthen the wetlands and barrier islands that are the Gulf Coast’s first line of defense. In Washington, that means a focus on competence and accountability – and I’m proud that my FEMA Administrator has 25 years of experience in disaster management in Florida, a state that has known its share of hurricanes. And across the country, that means improving coordination among different agencies, modernizing our emergency communications, and helping families plan for a crisis.

On this anniversary, we are focused on the threat from hurricanes. But we must also be prepared for a broad range of dangers – from wildfires and earthquakes, to terrorist attacks and pandemic disease. In particular, my Administration is working aggressively with state and local governments – and with partners around the world – to prepare for the risk posed by the H1N1 virus. To learn more about the simple steps that you can take to keep you and your family safe from all of these dangers, please visit

So on this day, we commemorate a tragedy that befell our people. But we also remember that with every tragedy comes the chance of renewal. It is a quintessentially American notion – that adversity can give birth to hope, and that the lessons of the past hold the key to a better future. From the streets of New Orleans to the Mississippi Coast, folks are beginning the next chapter in their American stories. And together, we can ensure that the legacy of a terrible storm is a country that is safer and more prepared for the challenges that may come. Thank you.

Senator Mike Enzi Weekly Republican Address 08/29/09 VIDEO TEXT

Senator Mike Enzi Weekly Republican Address 08/29/09 FULL TEXT TRANSCRIPT

Hello, I’m Mike Enzi, from the State of Wyoming and the Ranking Member of the Senate’s Health Committee.

Before I begin my remarks I want to acknowledge the loss of a great leader this week - one who’s influenced policy for almost half a century. Senator Ted Kennedy has been a tireless champion on a wide range of important issues and his voice will be missed in the Senate. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this time.
Senator Mike Enzi Weekly Republican AddressI would now like to take a few minutes to speak with you about the current health care reform debate in America. Across the country, people are concerned about the reform bills Democrats have proposed. I heard a lot of frustration and anger as I traveled across my home state this last few weeks.
I know my colleagues in the Senate have also heard loud and clear the worries so many Americans have about the changes to their health care being considered.

People in Wyoming and across the country are anxious about what Washington has in mind.

This is one of the most important debates of our lifetime.

If Congress and the administration mess this up, each and every one of us will pay for the mistakes, as will generations to come.

We need health care reform - but more importantly, we need to get it right. We need reforms that will actually lower health care costs for working Americans and we need to make sure we do not increase the deficit and add to the record debt we’re already passing on to our children and grandchildren.

The bills introduced by Congressional Democrats fail to meet these standards.

According to the non-partisan and independent Congressional Budget Office, the House and Senate bills will actually drive up heath care costs. The Congressional Budget Office also says that the Democrats’ bill will significantly increase our nation's deficit.

Take a minute to think about that.

The Democrats are trying to rush a bill through the process that will actually make our nation’s finances sicker without saving you money. The American people are growing increasingly concerned about out of control spending in Washington that’s leaving us with trillions of dollars of debt.

These bills also raid Medicare. This will result in cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the elderly to create new government programs. Savings from Medicare should only be used to strengthen Medicare.

The bills would expand comparative effectiveness research that would be used to limit or deny care based on age or disability of patients. Republican amendments in the HELP Committee would have protected Americans by prohibiting the rationing of their health care. The Democrats showed their true intent by voting every amendment down and leaving these unacceptable provisions in the bill. This intrusion of a Washington bureaucrat in the relationship between a doctor and a patient is not the kind of reform that Americans are seeking.

People across America are telling Congress that current health care bills are the wrong approach and that there should be a course correction on health care reform. They’ve said we need to scrap these flawed bills and take the time to develop the real solutions that the American people want and need.

We need to enact common sense reform that will actually cut costs.

More and better choices of competing health plans should be available, so you can find the plan that meets your needs at a price you can afford.

It’s important that we help small businesses provide affordable coverage for their workers. One way to do this is to give small businesses the power to band together across the country and use their combined negotiating power to find quality, affordable insurance plans.

We should also reform our current tax system, which drives up costs and makes it difficult for individuals to purchase insurance on their own. Everyone should get a health care tax advantage or no one should.

We need to reform our flawed medical liability system and eliminate junk lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. Unnecessary lawsuits cause extra costs and drive up health care costs.

We need to incentivize healthy lifestyle and push for a greater awareness of the importance of prevention rather than increasing sick care.

And, we need to provide patients with more and better information about the price and quality of their health care services, so they can make the right choices for their families.

America is a country of choices. We’re a nation of people who want the ability to choose what will best fit our families’ needs and it should be that way with health care too. These are the kinds of health care reforms that the American people want to see, and that’s the kind of change I hear that people want as I travel across Wyoming. A government monopoly just doesn’t serve us best.

I hope the President and the Democratic-controlled Congress will reject the go-it-alone path that they are currently on. If they do, we’ll have a chance to truly work on a real bill that will address those critical issues. Then we can bring about the reform necessary to decrease health care costs and increase access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Senate Republican Doctors Health Care Reform Episode 12 VIDEO

The Senate Doctors Show, Episode 12, 08/25/09

Senate Doctors Show Uninsured PieSenator John Barrasso, M.D., and Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., are seeking your questions as Congress debates health care reform. We want you to be a part of this important debate. Send us your questions and comments by e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
Senators Barrasso and Coburn will respond to some of them in future episodes, which air every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm EST.

Senate Doctors Show - Republican.Senate.Gov

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

George H.W. Bush, the 41st president on the death of Senator Edward Kennedy

George H.W. Bush Senator Edward Kennedy"Barbara and I were deeply saddened to learn Ted Kennedy lost his valiant battle with cancer. While we didn’t see eye-to-eye on many political issues through the years, I always respected his steadfast public service - so much so, in fact, that I invited him to my library in 2003 to receive the Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service,
Ted Kennedy was a seminal figure in the United States Senate - a leader who answered the call to duty for some 47 years, and whose death closes a remarkable chapter in that body’s history.

Barbara and I - and all Bushes - send our heartfelt condolences to Victoria, Ted's kids, and the entire Kennedy family."

George W Bush the 43d President on the death of Senator Kennedy

George W Bush Senator Kennedy"Laura and I are saddened by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. We extend our condolences and prayers to Senator Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, and all of their family.

Ted Kennedy spent more than half his life in the United States Senate. He was a man of passion who advocated fiercely for his convictions.
I was pleased to work with Senator Kennedy on legislation to raise standards in public schools, reform immigration, and ensure dignity and fair treatment for Americans suffering from mental illness.

In a life filled with trials, Ted Kennedy never gave in to self-pity or despair. He maintained his optimistic spirit, his sense of humor, and his faith in his fellow citizens. He loved his family and his country – and he served them until the end. He will be deeply missed."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Seniors’ Health Care Bill Of Rights VIDEO

  • PROTECT MEDICARE AND NOT CUT IT IN THE NAME OF HEALTH CARE REFORM: President Obama and Congressional Democrats are promoting a government-run health care experiment that will cut over $500 billion from Medicare to be used to pay for their plan. Medicare should not be raided to pay for another entitlement.
  • PROHIBIT GOVERNMENT FROM GETTING BETWEEN SENIORS AND THEIR DOCTORS: The Democrats’ government-run health care experiment will give patients less power to control their own medical decisions, and create government boards that would decide what treatments would or wouldn’t be funded. Republicans believe in patient-centered reforms that put the priorities of seniors before government.
  • PROHIBIT EFFORTS TO RATION HEALTH CARE BASED ON AGE: The Democrats’ government-run health care experiment would set up a “comparative effectiveness research commission” where health care treatment decisions could be limited based on a patient’s age. Republicans believe that health care decisions are best left up to seniors and their doctors.
  • PREVENT GOVERNMENT FROM INTERFERING WITH END-OF-LIFE CARE DISCUSSIONS: The Democrats’ government-run health care experiment would have seniors meet with a doctor to discuss end-of-life care that could mean limiting treatment. Republicans believe that government should not interfere with end-of-life care discussions between a patient and a doctor.
  • ENSURE SENIORS CAN KEEP THEIR CURRENT COVERAGE: As Democrats continue to propose steep cuts to Medicare in order to pay for their government-run health care experiment, these cuts threaten millions of seniors with being forced from their current Medicare Advantage plans. Republicans believe that seniors should not be targeted by a government-run health care bill and forced out of their current Medicare coverage.
  • PROTECT VETERANS BY PRESERVING TRICARE AND OTHER BENEFIT PROGRAMS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES: Democrats recently proposed raising veterans’ costs for the Tricare For Life program that many veterans rely on for treatment. Republicans oppose increasing the burden on our veterans and believe America should honor our promises to them.
RELATED: RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s Op-Ed In the Washington Post.

Republican National Committee | 310 First Street | Washington, D. C. 20003. p/202.863.8500 | f/202.863.8820 | e/

Saturday, August 22, 2009

President Barack Obama Weekly Address 08/22/09 PODCAST VIDEO TEXT

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Saturday, August 22, 2009 Washington, DC PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE Download MP3 6.03 mb MP4 VIDEO (123 MB)

Each and every day in this country, Americans are grappling with health care premiums that are growing three times the rate of wages and insurance company policies that limit coverage and raise out-of-pocket costs. Thousands are losing their insurance coverage each day.

Without real reform, the burdens on America’s families and businesses will continue to multiply. We’ve had a vigorous debate about health insurance reform, and rightly so. This is an issue of vital concern to every American, and I’m glad that so many are engaged.

But it also should be an honest debate, not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions, spread by the very folks who would benefit the most by keeping things exactly as they are.

So today, I want to spend a few minutes debunking some of the more outrageous myths circulating on the internet, on cable TV, and repeated at some town halls across this country.

Let’s start with the false claim that illegal immigrants will get health insurance under reform. That’s not true. Illegal immigrants would not be covered. That idea has never even been on the table. Some are also saying that coverage for abortions would be mandated under reform. Also false. When it comes to the current ban on using tax dollars for abortions, nothing will change under reform. And as every credible person who has looked into it has said, there are no so-called "death panels" – an offensive notion to me and to the American people. These are phony claims meant to divide us.

And we’ve all heard the charge that reform will somehow bring about a government takeover of health care. I know that sounds scary to many folks. It sounds scary to me, too. But here’s the thing: it’s not true. I no sooner want government to get between you and your doctor than I want insurance companies to make arbitrary decisions about what medical care is best for you, as they do today. As I’ve said from the beginning, under the reform we seek, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period.

Now, the source of a lot of these fears about government-run health care is confusion over what’s called the public option. This is one idea among many to provide more competition and choice, especially in the many places around the country where just one insurer thoroughly dominates the marketplace. This alternative would have to operate as any other insurer, on the basis of the premiums it collects. And let me repeat – it would be just an option; those who prefer their private insurer would be under no obligation to shift to a public plan.

The insurance companies and their allies don’t like this idea, or any that would promote greater competition. I get that. And I expect there will be a lot of discussion about it when Congress returns.

But this one aspect of the health care debate shouldn’t overshadow the other important steps we can and must take to reduce the increasing burdens families and businesses face.

So let me stress them again: If you don’t have insurance, you will finally have access to quality coverage you can afford. If you do have coverage, you will benefit from more security and more stability when it comes to your insurance. If you move, lose your job, or change jobs, you will not have to worry about losing health coverage. And we will set up tough consumer protections that will hold insurance companies accountable and stop them from exploiting you with unfair practices.

We’ll prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history. They will not be able to drop your coverage if you get sick. They will not be able to water down your coverage when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime. We’ll place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because no one in America should go broke because they get sick.

And we will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer on the front end. That makes sense, it saves lives, and it will also save money over the long-run. Taken together, the reforms we’re seeking will help bring down skyrocketing costs, which will mean real savings for families, businesses, and government.

We know what a failure to act would bring: More of the same. More of the same exploding costs. More of the same diminished coverage. If we fail to act, the crisis will grow. More families will go without coverage. More businesses will be forced to drop or water down their plans.

So we can push off the day of reckoning and fail to deal with the flaws in the system, just as Washington has done, year after year, decade after decade. Or we can take steps that will provide every American family and business a measure of security and stability they lack today.

It has never been easy, moving this nation forward. There are always those who oppose it, and those who use fear to block change. But what has always distinguished America is that when all the arguments have been heard, and all the concerns have been voiced, and the time comes to do what must be done, we rise above our differences, grasp each others’ hands, and march forward as one nation and one people, some of us Democrats, some of us Republicans, all of us Americans.

This is our chance to march forward. I cannot promise you that the reforms we seek will be perfect or make a difference overnight. But I can promise you this: if we pass health insurance reform, we will look back many years from now and say, this was the moment we summoned what’s best in each of us to make life better for all of us. This was the moment when we built a health care system worthy of the nation and the people we love. This was the moment we earned our place alongside the greatest generations. And that is what our generation of Americans is called to do right now.

Congressman Tom Price Weekly Republican Address 08/22/09 VIDEO TEXT

Congressman Tom Price Weekly Republican Address 08/22/09 FULL TEXT TRANSCRIPT

Hello, I’m Congressman Tom Price. And I have the privilege of representing the Sixth District of Georgia. (Just north of Atlanta) Before coming to Congress I was a physician, taking care of patients on the north side of Atlanta for more than 20 years.

Right now, Americans from coast to coast are debating the monumental task of reforming our health system. Folks of every political persuasion understand the imperative of reform. But they want reform that keeps what’s good with our current system – and fixes what’s not working – without destroying our quality of care.
The status quo in American health care is clearly unacceptable.
Congressman Tom Price

Congressman Tom Price
Rising costs, shrinking access, and third-party decision making are driving patients away from their doctors and the desired care that they seek. The challenge, however, is providing Americans more accessible and affordable care without impairing the quality, innovation, and choices that define American medicine. And this is simply impossible with the one-size-fits-all approach taken by the President and Democrats in charge of Congress.
Experience tells me that as a doctor, no two patients are exactly alike. While the same diagnosis can be reached for two people, the proper treatment for each may be completely different, based on a countless number of factors that only a patient, their family and a caring and compassionate physician truly understand.

Having navigated federal health care programs for two decades, I can tell you that Washington is incapable of processing the personal and unique circumstances that patients and doctors face each and every day. That is why a positive solution will put power in the hands of patients, not insurance companies or the government.

Unfortunately, the plan being promoted by the White House would give Washington the power to make highly personal medical decisions on behalf of patients – on behalf of you.

Now whether it’s the government choosing what should be in your family’s health care plan, or a bureaucratic board deciding what treatments are appropriate and who should receive them, the President’s plan is a 1,000-page expression supporting the notion that Washington knows best when it comes to your family’s health care. And that’s simply not true.

As opposition to the Democrats’ government-run health plan is mounting, the President has said he’d like to stamp out some of the disinformation floating around out there.
On the stump, the President regularly tells Americans that ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’ But if you read the bill, that just isn’t so. For starters, within five years, every health care plan will have to meet a new federal definition for coverage – one that your current plan might not match, even if you like it.

What’s more, experts agree that under the House bill, millions of Americans will be forced off their personal, private coverage and shuffled onto the government plan.

Now the President has also said that he thinks the government should compete with your current health care plan. But we all know that when the government is setting the rules and is backed by tax dollars, it will destroy – not compete with – the private sector. The reality is, whether or not you get to keep your plan, or your doctor, is very much in question under the President’s proposal.

But perhaps the most striking misinformation the President has put forth is that there are only two options out there for America – that it’s his way or the highway. That it’s either the government running the show – or insurance companies. The truth is there is a third way – a better way, a patient-centered way to reform health care.

Rather than allowing insurance companies or the government to call the shots, Republicans want to put patients in charge of their family’s health care. We have plans to increase coverage and lower costs without putting a bureaucrat between you and your doctor. We believe that what’s good for patients is good for American health care.

If anything has been learned from the debate in August, it’s that the American people think that we can do better. They seek reform, but they reject a government-centered approach. With people on the left, and the right, and everywhere in between dissatisfied with the process, it’s time that we start over to create a truly bipartisan solution that puts patients in charge.

Honoring the transparency promised the American people, and the principles of quality care we all hold dear, we can create a patient-centered proposal that all may support. We look forward to working with the President, and on behalf of the American people, to make patient-centered health reform a reality. I’m Congressman Tom Price. Thanks so much for listening. ###

Friday, August 21, 2009

Senate Republican Doctors Health Care Reform Episode 11 VIDEO

The Senate Doctors Show, Episode 11, 08/18/09

The Senate Doctors ShowSenator John Barrasso, M.D., and Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., are seeking your questions as Congress debates health care reform. We want you to be a part of this important debate. Send us your questions and comments by e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
Senators Barrasso and Coburn will respond to some of them in future episodes, which air every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm EST.

Senate Doctors Show - Republican.Senate.Gov

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2009 Flu Season Guidelines for Employers and Businesses VIDEO

Cabinet Secretaries Janet Napolitano, Gary Locke, and Kathleen Sebelius announced new federal guidelines to help employers and businesses prepare for and respond to the upcoming flu season.

Product ID: 288471-1. Format: News Conference. Last Airing: 08/19/2009. Event Date: 08/19/2009. Length: 22 minutes. Location: Washington, DC, United States.

Monday, August 17, 2009

RNC Web Video "In Denial” On President Obama's First 200 Days In Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. CONTACT: Press Office. 202-863-8614

WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee announced a new web video today on President Obama's first 200 days in office. The web video, entitled "In Denial".


Time: 1:37

Voice: "The Presidency of Barack Obama.”


Voice: "200 days.”

Chyron: 200 DAYS

Voice: "It started.”


Voice: "Star Studded.”


Voice: "High hopes.”

Voice: "All smiles.”

Voice: "Photo ops and reassurances.”


Voice: "Even an official White House photo for the first pup.”

Voice: "With an economy at a crossroads, his experiment started.”


Voice: "Government takeover after takeover.”


Voice: "A $787 billion dollar stimulus package.”


Voice: "Uncontrolled Government spending. Unprecedented deficits.”


Voice: "He promised to create or save millions of jobs.”

Voice: "But unemployment is up, month after month.”

Chyron: FEBRUARY 8.1% MARCH 8.5% APRIL 8.9% MAY 9.4% JUNE 9.5%


Voice: "2.5 million jobs lost.”


Voice: "Press conference, after press conference.”

Voice: "The TV ratings decline.”

Voice: "His approval ratings decline.”

Voice: "Desperate photo-ops.”

Voice: "A White House in denial.”

Voice: "Saying, ‘We Rescued the Economy.'”


Voice: "Now we face his most dangerous experiment of all.”


Voice: "Government takeover of health care.”


Voice: "An experiment that will cost over one trillion dollars, threaten your private insurance and cost taxpayers hundreds of billions in new taxes.”

Voice: "The presidency of Barack Obama.”

Voice: "A failed experiment in just 200 days.”


Voice: "Go to to learn how you can tell President Obama and Congressional Democrats to stop their risky experiments on America.”



Senate Republican Doctors Health Care Reform Episode 10 VIDEO

The Senate Doctors Show, Episode 10, 08/11/09

The Senate Doctors ShowSenator John Barrasso, M.D., and Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., are seeking your questions as Congress debates health care reform. We want you to be a part of this important debate. Send us your questions and comments by e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
Senators Barrasso and Coburn will respond to some of them in future episodes, which air every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm EST.

Senate Doctors Show - Republican.Senate.Gov

Saturday, August 15, 2009

President Barack Obama Weekly Address 08/15/09 PODCAST VIDEO TEXT

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Saturday, August 15, 2009 Washington, DC PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE Download MP3 6.54 mb MP4 VIDEO (58.5 MB)

This week, I’ve been traveling across our country to discuss health insurance reform and to hear directly from folks like you – your questions, your concerns, and your stories.

Now, I know there’s been a lot of attention paid to some of the town hall meetings that are going on around the country, especially those where tempers have flared. You know how TV loves a ruckus.
President Barack Obama Weekly AddressBut what you haven’t seen – because it’s not as exciting – are the many constructive meetings going on all over the country where Americans are airing their hopes and concerns about this very important issue.
I’ve been holding some of my own, and the stories I’ve heard have really underscored why I believe so strongly that health insurance reform is a challenge we can't ignore.

They’re stories like Lori Hitchcock’s, who I met in New Hampshire this week. Lori’s got a pre-existing condition, so no insurance company will cover her. She’s self-employed, and in this economy, she can’t find a job that offers health care, so she’s been uninsured for two years.

Or they’re stories like Katie Gibson’s, who I met in Montana. When Katie tried to change insurance companies, she was sure to list her pre-existing conditions on the application and even called her new company to confirm she’d be covered. Two months later, she was dropped – after she’d already gone off her other insurance.

These are the stories that aren’t being told – stories of a health care system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people. And that’s why we’re going to pass health insurance reform that finally holds the insurance companies accountable.

But now’s the hard part. Because the history is clear – every time we come close to passing health insurance reform, the special interests with a stake in the status quo use their influence and political allies to scare and mislead the American people.

As an example, let’s look at one of the scarier-sounding and more ridiculous rumors out there – that so-called "death panels" would decide whether senior citizens get to live or die. That rumor began with the distortion of one idea in a Congressional bill that would allow Medicare to cover voluntary visits with your doctor to discuss your end-of-life care – if and only if you decide to have those visits. It had nothing to do with putting government in control of your decisions; in fact, it would give you all the information you need – if you want it – to put you in control of your decisions. When a conservative Republican Senator who has long-fought for even more far-reaching proposals found out how folks were twisting the idea, he called their misrepresentation, and I quote, "nuts."

So when folks with a stake in the status quo keep inventing these boogeymen in an effort to scare people, it’s disappointing, but it’s not surprising. We’ve seen it before. When President Roosevelt was working to create Social Security, opponents warned it would open the door to "federal snooping" and force Americans to wear dog tags. When President Kennedy and President Johnson were working to create Medicare, opponents warned of "socialized medicine." Sound familiar? Not only were those fears never realized, but more importantly, those programs have saved the lives of tens of millions of seniors, the disabled, and the disadvantaged.

Those who would stand in the way of reform will say almost anything to scare you about the cost of action. But they won’t say much about the cost of inaction. If you’re worried about rationed care, higher costs, denied coverage, or bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor, then you should know that’s what’s happening right now. In the past three years, over 12 million Americans were discriminated against by insurance companies due to a preexisting condition, or saw their coverage denied or dropped just when they got sick and needed it most. Americans whose jobs and health care are secure today just don’t know if they’ll be next to join the 14,000 who lose their health insurance every single day. And if we don’t act, average family premiums will keep rising to more than $22,000 within a decade.

On the other hand, here’s what reform will mean for you.

First, no matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it. If you don’t have insurance, you’ll finally be able to afford insurance. And everyone will have the security and stability that’s missing today.

Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying you coverage because of your medical history, dropping your coverage if you get sick, or watering down your coverage when it counts – because there’s no point in having health insurance if it’s not there when you need it.

Insurance companies will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or lifetime, and we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses – because no one in America should go broke just because they get sick.

Finally, we’ll require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies – because there’s no reason we shouldn’t be saving lives and dollars by catching diseases like breast cancer and prostate cancer on the front end.

That’s what reform means. For all the chatter and the noise out there, what every American needs to know is this: If you don’t have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options once we pass reform. If you do have health insurance, we will make sure that no insurance company or government bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need. And we will deliver this in a fiscally responsible way.

I know there’s plenty of real concern and skepticism out there. I know that in a time of economic upheaval, the idea of change can be unsettling, and I know that there are folks who believe that government should have no role at all in solving our problems. These are legitimate differences worthy of the real discussion that America deserves – one where we lower our voices, listen to one another, and talk about differences that really exist. Because while there may be disagreements over how to go about it, there is widespread agreement on the urgent need to reform a broken system and finally hold insurance companies accountable.

Nearly fifty years ago, in the midst of the noisy early battles to create what would become Medicare, President Kennedy said, "I refuse to see us live on the accomplishments of another generation. I refuse to see this country, and all of us, shrink from these struggles which are our responsibility in our time." Now it falls to us to meet the challenges of our time. And if we can come together, and listen to one another; I believe, as I always have, that we will rise to this moment, we will build something better for our children, and we will secure America’s future in this new century.

Orrin Hatch Weekly Republican Address 08/15/09 VIDEO TEXT

Orrin Hatch Weekly Republican Address 08/15/09 FULL TEXT TRANSCRIPT

Hello. I am Orrin Hatch, from the great state of Utah. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with all of you today to talk about the very important challenge of health care reform.

Ensuring access to affordable and quality health care for every American is not a Republican or Democrat issue - it is an American issue. Our nation expects us to solve this challenge in an open, honest and responsible manner. More spending, more taxes and more government is not the answer.
Senator Orrin G. Hatch

Senator Orrin G. Hatch
After the rushed stimulus bill, Americans are rightly concerned about what is being pushed through the Democratic Congress. The rush to pass something that will affect every American life and one-sixth of our economy has raised concerns all around our nation.

So, why are Americans so skeptical of and concerned with the approach of the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress? A big reason for this concern is that nearly 85 percent of Americans have coverage and they are really worried about what reform means for them. Especially our seniors. And these concerns are moving from kitchen table conversations to town hall discussions.
I am disappointed about the attempts to characterize the behavior of Americans expressing their concerns as ‘un-American'.’ Although I strongly encourage the use of respectful debate in these town halls, we should not be stifling these discussions. There is nothing ‘un-American’ about disagreements. In fact, our great nation was founded on speaking our minds.

Families are voicing their concerns because they feel like they are not being heard in Washington and I am here to tell you that your voices are coming through and it is essential for all of you to be involved in this issue.

Republicans in Congress agree with the majority of Americans who believe that just throwing more taxpayer dollars at a problem will not deliver meaningful reform. Telling the American public that the solution for solving a $2.5 trillion health care system is to simply spend another trillion dollars in our current economy, just does not make sense.

Especially at a time when spending and debt are multiplying with such alarming speed, like an almost $2 trillion national deficit this year alone, $200 billion in state deficits, a Medicare program on the edge of bankruptcy and a national debt that will triple within the next decade.

There are several areas of consensus that can form the basis for a sustainable, fiscally responsible and bipartisan reform. These include:

1. Reforming the health insurance market for every American by making sure that no American is denied coverage simply based on a pre-existing condition

2. Protecting the coverage for almost 85 percent of Americans who already have coverage – coverage they like – by making it more affordable. This means reducing costs by rewarding quality and coordinated care, giving families more information on the cost and choices of their coverage and treatment options, discouraging junk lawsuits against doctors and hospitals and promoting prevention and wellness measures like quitting smoking and living a healthier lifestyle.

3. Giving states flexibility to design their own unique approaches to reduce uninsured

4. Empowering small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs – the job-creating engines and lifeblood of our economy – to buy affordable coverage for their employees

Unfortunately, the path we are taking in Washington right now is to simply spend another trillion dollars of taxpayer money to further expand the role of the federal government.

The reform proposals being pushed by the Democrats include massive expansions of the Medicaid program and the creation of a new Washington-run plan that will drive millions of Americans from private coverage of their choice into government-run plans. As the federal government’s control of our health care system continues to increase, private coverage will continue to decrease, till we are left with a Washington-run and dictated health care system.

Medicare offers an important lesson. With $38 trillion in future costs, it is facing bankruptcy within the next decade, threatening access to care for millions of Americans. So what is the Democratic approach to fix Medicare for our seniors? Hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts which will be used to expand a financially-strapped Medicaid program and create another government-run plan.

To enact true health care reform, we should work together to write a responsible, bipartisan bill for the American families who are faced with rising unemployment and out of control health care costs.

We have a real need for reform and an opportunity on behalf of the American people to get it done. If we are responsible in our policy approaches and strive for true bipartisanship, we can achieve meaningful reform. ###

Weekly Republican Address 08/15/09 VIDEO TEXT

Friday, August 14, 2009

Senate Republican Doctors Health Care Reform Episode 9 VIDEO

The Senate Doctors Show, Episode 8, 08/06/09

The Senate Doctors ShowSenator John Barrasso, M.D., and Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., are seeking your questions as Congress debates health care reform. We want you to be a part of this important debate. Send us your questions and comments by e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
Senators Barrasso and Coburn will respond to some of them in future episodes, which air every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm EST.

Senate Doctors Show - Republican.Senate.Gov

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Robert L. Gibbs Biography

Robert L. Gibbs BiographyGibbs, who was born in Auburn Alabama, March 29, 1971. His parents are Robert and Nancy Gibbs, who worked for the Auburn University library system.
His mother takes credit for getting her son interested in politics, Nancy Gibbs said she was active in the League of Women Voters in Auburn. The family also had lively political discussions at the dinner table, she said.

Mr. Gibbs attended Auburn City Schools and graduated from AHS in 1989 At Auburn High, Gibbs played saxophone in the Auburn High School Band, goalkeeper on the Tigers' soccer team, and participated on the school's debate squad.

The Gibbs family lived in Auburn for 25 years, leaving in 1991 for North Carolina, where Gibbs then attended North Carolina State University, where he majored in political science. From 1990 through 1992, Gibbs was goalkeeper for the North Carolina State Wolfpack soccer team. Gibbs graduated from North Carolina State cum laude with a degree in political science

Robert's parents live in Apex, North Carolina. The elder Gibbs retired in 1992 as Auburn’s associate dean for libraries, and the family moved to North Carolina, where Nancy Gibbs is now head of acquisitions for the Duke University libraries.

Former U.S. Rep. Glen Browder of Jacksonville said he hired Gibbs for an internship in 1991 and Gibbs cut his teeth in politics as an aide to the Alabama congressman. He rose through the ranks of Browder's staff, rising to become the representative's executive assistant in Washington, D.C. Gibbs returned to Alabama in 1996 to work on Browder's unsuccessful Senate campaign that year

One of Gibbs’ early jobs was as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, a Lillington Democrat who hired Gibbs when the congressman’s first term began in 1997.

In 1998 Gibbs served as the communications director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and as campaign spokesman for Senator Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) . Gibbs also served as Communications Director for Senator Hollings

Robert worked on Senator Debbie Stabenow's 2000 Senate campaign.

Early in the 2004 presidential campaign, Gibbs was the press secretary of Democratic candidate John Kerry. On November 11, 2003, Gibbs resigned. Mr. Gibbs emphasized in an interview that he left the Kerry campaign, after a staff shake-up that left many embittered.

In 2004 after quiting Kerry, Mr. Gibbs became spokesman for a 527 political group, Americans for Jobs, Health Care and Progressive Values. formed to stop the 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean which launched attack ads against Dean, sponsored by the new Democratic group,

Gibbs is married. His wife, Mary Catherine Gibbs, is an attorney in Alexandria, Va. Gibbs lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her, and their five-year-old son, Ethan.

Gibbs, began working with President-elect Obama in April 2004 serving as Communications Director for his United States Senate race and later as his Senate Communications Director. Gibbs held the position of Communications Director for Obama’s presidential campaign until becoming Senior Strategist for Communications and Message during the general election.
On November 22, 2008, it was announced by the Obama Transition Team that Gibbs would be the White House Press Secretary for the Obama administration. He assumed the role of press secretary on January 20, 2009, and gave his first official briefing on January 22.Robert Gibbs and Barack Obama

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ronald Reagan Civil Liberties Act of 1988

President Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988

August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988, compensating Japanese-Americans for deprivation of civil rights and property during World War II internment ordered by FDR.

RELATED: Senate bill S. 1009

Saturday, August 08, 2009

President Barack Obama Weekly Address 08/08/09 PODCAST VIDEO TEXT

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Saturday, August 8, 2009 Washington, DC PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE Download MP3 5.47 mb MP4 VIDEO (63.3 MB)

On Friday, we received better news than we expected about the state of our economy. We learned that we lost 247,000 jobs in July – some 200,000 fewer jobs lost than in June, and far fewer than the nearly 700,000 a month we were losing at the beginning of the year. Of course, this is little comfort to anyone who saw their job disappear in July, and to the millions of Americans who are looking for work. And I will not rest until anyone who’s looking for work can find a job.

Still, this month’s jobs numbers are a sign that we’ve begun to put the brakes on this recession and that the worst may be behind us. But we must do more than rescue our economy from this immediate crisis; we must rebuild it stronger than before. We must lay a new foundation for future growth and prosperity, and a key pillar of a new foundation is health insurance reform – reform that we are now closer to achieving than ever before.

There are still details to be hammered out. There are still differences to be reconciled. But we are moving toward a broad consensus on reform. Four committees in Congress have produced legislation – an unprecedented level of agreement on a difficult and complex challenge. In addition to the ongoing work in Congress, providers have agreed to bring down costs. Drug companies have agreed to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. The AARP supports reform because of the better care it will offer seniors. And the American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association, which represent the millions of nurses and doctors who know our health care system best, support reform, as well.

As we draw close to finalizing – and passing – real health insurance reform, the defenders of the status quo and political point-scorers in Washington are growing fiercer in their opposition. In recent days and weeks, some have been using misleading information to defeat what they know is the best chance of reform we have ever had. That is why it is important, especially now, as Senators and Representatives head home and meet with their constituents, for you, the American people, to have all the facts.

So, let me explain what reform will mean for you. And let me start by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid, or bring about a government takeover of health care. That’s simply not true. This isn’t about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it’s about putting you in charge of your health insurance. Under the reforms we seek, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.

And while reform is obviously essential for the 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, it will also provide more stability and security to the hundreds of millions who do. Right now, we have a system that works well for the insurance industry, but that doesn’t always work well for you. What we need, and what we will have when we pass health insurance reform, are consumer protections to make sure that those who have insurance are treated fairly and that insurance companies are held accountable.

We will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms, colonoscopies, or eye and foot exams for diabetics, so we can avoid chronic illnesses that cost too many lives and too much money.

We will stop insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history. I will never forget watching my own mother, as she fought cancer in her final days, worrying about whether her insurer would claim her illness was a preexisting condition. I have met so many Americans who worry about the same thing. That’s why, under these reforms, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage because of a previous illness or injury. And insurance companies will no longer be allowed to drop or water down coverage for someone who has become seriously ill. Your health insurance ought to be there for you when it counts – and reform will make sure it is.

With reform, insurance companies will also have to limit how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. And we will stop insurance companies from placing arbitrary caps on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime because no one in America should go broke because of illness.

In the end, the debate about health insurance reform boils down to a choice between two approaches. The first is almost guaranteed to double health costs over the next decade, make millions more Americans uninsured, leave those with insurance vulnerable to arbitrary denials of coverage, and bankrupt state and federal governments. That’s the status quo. That’s the health care system we have right now.

So, we can either continue this approach, or we can choose another one – one that will protect people against unfair insurance practices; provide quality, affordable insurance to every American; and bring down rising costs that are swamping families, businesses, and our budgets. That’s the health care system we can bring about with reform.

There are those who are focused on the so-called politics of health care; who are trying to exploit differences or concerns for political gain. That’s to be expected. That’s Washington. But let’s never forget that this isn’t about politics. This is about people’s lives. This is about people’s businesses. This is about America’s future. That’s what is at stake. That’s why health insurance reform is so important. And that’s why we must get this done – and why we will get this done – by the end of this year. Thank you.

Bob McDonnell Weekly Republican Address 08/08/09 VIDEO TEXT

Bob McDonnell Weekly Republican Address 08/08/09 FULL TEXT TRANSCRIPT

Hi, I’m Bob McDonnell from Virginia.

Times are tough in our state, and in yours.

Yesterday’s jobs report is yet another reminder that families and small businesses are struggling as unemployment remains high.

Here in Virginia, we face unemployment rates at a twenty-five year high.

As I travel throughout Virginia, I listen to our people who are concerned about the jobs they have, worried about finding the jobs they need, and concerned about what jobs will be available for their kids in the years ahead.

As a father of five, I share those same concerns; that’s why our main goal is to bring Virginians together to create jobs and more opportunities all across our state.

And we want government at all levels to be a partner in promoting small businesses and entrepreneurship.

As Republicans, we believe you create jobs by keeping taxes and regulation low, and litigation at a minimum.

Americans succeed when government puts in place positive policies that encourage more freedom, and more opportunity.

Right now Virginians are particularly concerned about federal cap-and-trade legislation. This legislation would amount to a huge new national energy tax. If implemented, electricity rates would skyrocket and jobs would be lost.

Two weeks ago I was in Covington, in Western Virginia; I visited Mead Westvaco, an international packaging company. It’s the largest employer in the area, providing 1500 good jobs. They told me the cap-and-trade legislation, if passed, would threaten those jobs. Mark George, the vice-president of the facility, told me this, ‘I feel that the next governor of Virginia, and every representative we have, should care about keeping those good jobs in Virginia; I agree.

We must do everything we can to keep and grow jobs in Virginia, and every state in the Union. That’s why we strongly oppose cap-and-trade, a job-killing energy tax that would put American companies at a tremendous competitive disadvantage with employers in other countries; it’s the wrong policy for a nation struggling with the worst economy in generations. That’s why we’ve fought against the job-killing card-check legislation being pushed by big national labor unions and Democrats in Congress.

It’s why we are committed to helping more Americans get the healthcare and coverage they need; not through nationalizing the system with a costly government-run plan, but rather by supporting free-market incentives and helping small business owners make coverage more accessible and affordable, and ensuring that Americans can keep their individual private policies.

Government must be more efficient, and more accountable; which is why we are calling for an end to runaway government spending that is leading to an exploding deficit and burdening our children with new debt that they will have to repay.

The cornerstone of our founders system of federalism is that the states are the laboratories of democracy, where new ideas can be tried and innovations unleashed. I’m calling for environmentally friendly offshore drilling, selling our state-run liquor stores to put more cash into transportation, and expanding access for Virginia students at our colleges.

I’ve said that the President is right in his call for real education reform, with more charter schools, and performance pay for great teachers and principals. Now that’s a bipartisan reform that will help all our children get the education they need today to get those good jobs of tomorrow.

Together, we will use innovation and free-markets to bring new jobs and more opportunities to Virginia, and America.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Republican National Committee (RNC) In Denial TV Ad VIDEO

Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. Republican National Committee, 310 First Street | Washington, D. C. 20003 p/202.863.8500, f/202.863.8820, e/

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Senate Republican Doctors Health Care Reform VIDEO

The Senate Doctors Show, Episode 8, 08/04/09

Senators John Barrasso, M.D. and Tom Coburn, M.D. answered health care reform questions from across the country.
The Senate Doctors ShowSenator John Barrasso, M.D., and Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., are seeking your questions as Congress debates health care reform. We want you to be a part of this important debate. Send us your questions and comments by e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
Senators Barrasso and Coburn will respond to some of them in future episodes, which air every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm EST.

Senate Doctors Show - Republican.Senate.Gov

Monday, August 03, 2009

Senator Pat Roberts Condemns Moving Gitmo Detainees to Ft. Leavenworth; Rejects Obama Plans for Terrorist Trials in Kansas TEXT VIDEO PODCAST

Senator Pat Roberts

Senator Pat Roberts


WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Pat Roberts today condemned the notion of moving the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Ft. Leavenworth, KS amid Obama Administration statements saying Ft. Leavenworth is under consideration not only to house the detainees, but also to be the site for the federal criminal trials and military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects.
The news broke yesterday that the Administration was looking for one site for the facility and that either Ft. Leavenworth or a maximum-security prison in Standish, Michigan are the two options.

"Today I spoke with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Policy

Philip Carter," Senator Roberts said. "I expressed my extreme displeasure with the rumor that Ft. Leavenworth is under consideration. The 100 most dangerous terrorists in the world will not be moved to Ft. Leavenworth on my watch.

"Moving terrorists to the intellectual center of the Army at Ft. Leavenworth threatens the mission of the base and endangers the entire community. We have no way to secure the facility from the outside-in and have no control over what people these terrorists will attract to this community.

"I oppose any and all efforts to locate terrorists at Ft. Leavenworth. I have heard from the Ft. Leavenworth community, surrounding areas and Kansans from all corners of the state who are unequivocally opposed to housing these terrorists in Kansas.

"What more proof does this Administration need that a new detention facility will not make housing terrorists more appealing to the international community? It will just make it less safe for Americans. Not in my backyard. Not in Kansas. I will shut down the Senate before I let that happen."

Kansans can join U.S. Senator Pat Roberts in opposing the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the transfer of terrorists to American communities such as Leavenworth, Kansas, due to the unnecessary risks it presents to all Americans, by visiting the Senator’s homepage and clicking on the "Gitmo" button on the lower left side at the following web address:

Senator Roberts, a former Marine, was Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 2003-2006. He visited the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in 2005. He has been an outspoken leading advocate against housing detainees in the middle of Ft. Leavenworth, KS. -30-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 3, 2009, CONTACT: Sarah Ross Little or Molly Haase (202) 224-4774

Saturday, August 01, 2009

President Barack Obama Weekly Address 08/01/09 PODCAST VIDEO TEXT

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Saturday, August 1, 2009 Washington, DC PODCAST OF THIS ARTICLE Download MP3 4.71 mb MP4 VIDEO (58.5 MB)

Today, I’d like to talk with you about a subject that I know is on everyone’s mind, and that’s the state of our economy. Yesterday, we received a report on our Gross Domestic Product. That’s a measure of our overall economic performance. The report showed that in the first few months of this year, the recession we faced when I took office was even deeper than anyone thought at the time. It told us how close we were to the edge.
President Barack Obama Weekly AddressBut it also revealed that in the last few months, the economy has done measurably better than expected. And many economists suggest that part of this progress is directly attributable to the Recovery Act.
This and the other difficult but important steps that we have taken over the last six months have helped put the brakes on this recession.

We took unprecedented action to stem the spread of foreclosures by helping responsible homeowners stay in their homes and pay their mortgages. We helped revive the credit markets and open up loans for families and small businesses. And we enacted a Recovery Act that put tax cuts directly into the pockets of middle-class families and small businesses; extended unemployment insurance and health insurance for folks who have lost jobs; provided relief to struggling states to prevent layoffs of teachers and police officers; and made investments that are putting people back to work rebuilding and renovating roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.

Now, I realize that none of this is much comfort for Americans who are still out of work or struggling to make ends meet. And when we receive our monthly job report next week, it is likely to show that we are continuing to lose far too many jobs in this country. As far as I’m concerned, we will not have a recovery as long as we keep losing jobs. And I won’t rest until every American who wants a job can find one.

But history shows that you need to have economic growth before you have job growth. And the report yesterday on our economy is an important sign that we’re headed in the right direction. Business investment, which had been plummeting in the past few months, is showing signs of stabilizing. This means that eventually, businesses will start growing and hiring again. And that’s when it will really feel like a recovery to the American people.

This won’t happen overnight. As I’ve said before, it will take many more months to fully dig ourselves out of a recession – a recession that we’ve now learned was even deeper than anyone thought. But I’ll continue to work every day, and take every step necessary, to make sure that happens. I also want to make sure that we don’t return to an economy where our growth is based on inflated profits and maxed-out credit cards – because that doesn’t create a lot of jobs. Even as we rescue this economy, we must work to rebuild it stronger than before. We’ve got to build a new foundation strong enough to withstand future economic storms and support lasting prosperity.

Next week, I’ll be talking about that new foundation when I head to Elkhart County in Indiana – a city hard hit not only by the economic crisis of recent months but by the broader economic changes of recent decades. For communities like Elkhart to thrive, we need to recapture the spirit of innovation that has always moved America forward.

That means once again having the best-educated, highest skilled workforce in the world. That means a health care system that makes it possible for entrepreneurs to innovate and businesses to compete without being saddled with skyrocketing insurance costs. That means leading the world in building a new clean energy economy with the potential to unleash a wave of innovation – and economic growth – while ending our dependence on foreign oil. And that means investing in the research and development that will produce the technologies of the future – which in turn will help create the industries and jobs of the future.

Innovation has been essential to our prosperity in the past, and it will be essential to our prosperity in the future. But it is only by building a new foundation that we will once again harness that incredible generative capacity of the American people. All it takes are the policies to tap that potential – to ignite that spark of creativity and ingenuity – which has always been at the heart of who we are and how we succeed. At a time when folks are experiencing real hardship, after years in which we have seen so many fail to take responsibility for our collective future, it’s important to keep our eyes fixed on that horizon.

Every day, I hear from Americans who are feeling firsthand the pain of this recession; these are folks who share their stories with me in letters and at town hall meetings; folks who remain in my mind and on my agenda each and every day. I know that there are countless families and businesses struggling to just hang on until this storm passes. But I also know that if we do the things we know we must, this storm will pass. And it will yield to a brighter day.

Senator John Thune Weekly Republican Address 08/01/09 VIDEO TEXT

Senator John Thune Weekly Republican Address 08/01/09 FULL TEXT TRANSCRIPT

Hello, I’m Senator John Thune of South Dakota.

With summer in full swing, children across the country are enjoying vacations and time off from school. Too many of their parents, however, don’t get a vacation from their worries about important issues like the rising costs of health care. Those parents, like many Americans, are looking to us in Washington for help, and for real solutions.
Senator John Thune

Senator John Thune
Republicans in Congress know that serious health care reform is a top priority of the American people, and we are committed to getting it done. But we need to get the right reform, rather than just rush something through that could leave us in far worse shape in the future.

Republicans want health care reform that works. Reform that brings down costs for families and small businesses, and reform that provides better care to more people.
On all these points, the current proposals by the President and the Democrat leadership in Congress fall short.

Their plan for government-run health care would disrupt our current system and force millions of Americans who currently enjoy their employer-based coverage into a new health care plan run by government bureaucrats.

In this difficult recession, Americans and our government are already over-extended.

The Democrats who control Congress have been spending money and racking up debt at an unprecedented pace.

And their plan for government-run health care would only make things worse. Once implemented, the Democrat plan would spend more than $2 trillion and further increase our exploding deficit. Their plan would pile up higher costs, create new Washington bureaucracies and burden every state through new requirements on Medicaid.

Governors and state legislators from both parties have said that increased Medicaid costs would overwhelm their already-strained state budgets. In fact, one Democratic governor last week called the increases proposed by Congressional Democrats "the mother of all unfunded mandates.’’

In my home state of South Dakota, the new Medicaid requirements could require $45 million dollars a year in new state spending. That may not sound like much, but for a small state that’s required by law to balance its budget every year, it’s a lot.

That money would have to come from somewhere, and that means either higher taxes or cuts to other priorities. That’s what we’re facing not just in South Dakota, but nationwide.

Americans don’t want to lose their high quality health care, and they definitely don’t want to pay trillions of dollars for a government takeover of health care that could lead to the same denial, delay, and rationing of treatment that we’ve seen in other countries that have gone down this path.

Republicans think there’s a better way. We’ve put forth proposals that will cut costs and improve care. And we can accomplish health care reform while keeping patients and their doctors in charge, not bureaucrats and politicians.

Real reform should allow small businesses to pool together to buy affordable health insurance for their employees.

Real reform should protect doctors and hospitals from frivolous lawsuits, so they can stop practicing defensive medicine and instead focus on practicing patient-focused medicine.

Real reform should encourage wellness and prevention programs that have been proven to cut costs.

And real reform should give people who buy their own insurance the same tax breaks as those who get insurance through their employers.

These and other commonsense solutions would provide real reform for our health care system rather than the dangerous and costly experiment that Democrats are proposing.

I hope that as we continue this important debate, we can put aside the politics of Washington and tackle health care reform in the bipartisan way that Americans deserve.

It’s time for real reform that works, not the same old answers of more money and more government. Real health care reform should cost Americans less money, not more. It should provide better quality, not worse. And it should empower patients, not government bureaucrats. By working together, we can do just that. Thank you.