Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered the following remarks this afternoon on the Senate floor. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Every day we don’t act, it gets more expensive to stay healthy in America.
“If you’re fortunate enough to have health insurance, this isn’t news to you. You’ve no doubt noticed your premiums have more than doubled in the last decade, even though the quality of your health care hasn’t.
“If you’re fortunate enough to have coverage, you might not have noticed that you are paying at least an extra $1,000 a year to cover all the other families who don’t.
“Those with insurance know that when premiums eat up a larger slice of their paychecks, they have less money to take home to their families. Those without insurance know the pain of skipping medicine, or treatments, or doctor’s visits because it simply costs too much to go to the doctor.
“And economists tell us that if we do nothing, those costs will continue to climb and climb.
“The President’s Council of Economic Advisers has crunched the numbers, and this respected group tells us the bill before the Senate will indeed keep health care costs down.
“Lower costs are good for every American. It means more people who don’t have insurance today will be able to afford it, and those who do have insurance will have more stability and security against losing it.
“The White House’s economists highlighted a number of other impressive effects of our bill:
· The amount our government spends on Medicare for our seniors and Medicaid for the underprivileged will be much less than it will if we don’t act.
· Our nation’s deficit will be much lower than it will if we don’t act.
· Health care costs in the private sector will be much lower than they will if we don’t act.
· And with this bill, American families’ incomes will increase more than they would if we don’t act. The same is true for job creation, small business growth and our overall economy.
“After all, health reform is economic reform. When you aren’t spending so much of your paycheck on premiums, you have more left over to feed your family and fuel our economy.
“We also know that a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce, and a more productive workforce means a healthier economy.
“Those are pretty good reasons to act, and a pretty strong rebuttal against the strategy of doing nothing.
“This data prove once again what we have said from the start: this bill will save lives, save money and save Medicare.
“That’s the reality. And that’s why we are working to make it possible for every American to afford a shot at a healthy life. It’s a goal that will make our economy stronger and make our citizens healthier. It’s a goal with an eye to the future, to our children, one that appreciates the long-term effects of what we do here.
“The other side has a goal of its own – one that not only ignores the reality of the present, but dismisses both the long-term benefits of acting and the long-term costs of doing nothing.
“Whereas we are working to slow growing health costs, they are working to slow down the Senate. In fact, they’d like to bring this body to a screeching halt.
“But we won’t let talking points meant to scare seniors and frighten families obscure the hard data that show just how unhealthy our health care system is.
“We won’t be derailed by those who spend more time hoping for America’s leaders to fail than they do helping the American people succeed.
“And we won’t be sidetracked by those who try to stop history in its tracks.”