House Republicans Call Democrats' Credibility into Question

During unlimited floor speeches allowed under the rules on Tuesdays, House Republicans hammered Democrats on what Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) termed a lack of credibility.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an analysis (PDF) late last week showing Democrats were off by hundreds of billions of dollars in their claims Obamacare would lower health care costs.

The analysis is from the Obama administration’s own numbers crunchers — and it confirmed what Republicans have been saying about Obamacare all along: it would raise costs, run doctors and hospitals out of the Medicare system and cut Medicare funding by over half a trillion dollars.  Among other things.

Allegations have now surfaced in a report from the American Spectator that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in possession of the CMS report for over a week before the health care vote but sat on it until after the vote was taken:

The economic report released last week by Health and Human Services, which indicated that President Barack Obama’s health care "reform" law would actually increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on consumers, had been submitted to the office of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius more than a week before the Congressional votes on the bill, according to career HHS sources, who added that Sebelius’s staff refused to review the document before the vote was taken.

"The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote," says an HHS source. "Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think."

What did the Obama administration know and when did they know it?  And did they cover up this information to aid their government takeover of health care?

Boehner led today’s floor speech effort.  From his speech:

“Mr. Speaker, we are seeing a growing credibility gap here in Washington.  Democrats are saying one thing and doing something else.  It started with the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ plan that was rushed through with promises that it would create jobs immediately and keep unemployment below eight percent.   Today, unemployment is near 10 percent and Americans are still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’  Americans were also promised a war on deficits, but all that’s happened is we piled more debt on the backs of our kids and grandkids.  

“Then, we have the trillion-dollar government takeover of health care that was forced through with promises that it would lower cost.  But turns out, the new law will actually increase costs for taxpayers and patients.  This comes from analysis from the President’s administration, their Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).  CMS determined that the new law will increase what the nation spends on health care over the next 10 years by $311 billion.  The President claimed that this government takeover of health care was the single most important thing that we can do to address our deficits.  But now it turns out, it’s just going to make matters worse. 

“Just think about that credibility gap when you see the Majority insist on rushing through a job-killing regulatory bill with promises that will end Wall Street bailouts.  The bill doesn’t end Wall Street bailouts, it makes them permanent and institutionalizes ‘too big to fail.’  This bill doesn’t get the government out of the private sector it creates a politburo style of regulators who can seize any business and do almost anything they want to do with it. And the bill doesn’t address the real reasons for the financial meltdown; it gives a free ride to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government mortgage companies that started this crisis.  Americans were promised a new Washington.  Instead it’s just more of the same: more spending, more government, and more empty promises.

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sounded the charge on repeal:

“At the start of the health care debate last year, President Obama made two critical promises.  He assured the American people his bill would, number one, lower costs, and if they liked the coverage they had they could keep it.

“On the first count an independent CMS Report released last week states the health care cost will skyrocket under this bill by an astounding $311 billion over the next 10 years.  That’s more than the previous estimate for each individual bill passed in the House and the Senate.

“And if you like what you have, you truly may not be able to keep it.  Even care for our seniors is jeopardized.  The CMS Report warns the Medicare cuts may trigger a flight of hospitals and other health care providers from participation in Medicare.  It also states that 50% of the seniors participating in Medicare advantage are set to lose their coverage.

“The American people deserve better, Mr. Speaker, and that’s why we need to repeal the $1 trillion government overhaul of health care and replace it with a bill that makes lowering costs the first priority.”

The entirety of the day’s one minute floor speeches lasted for over an hour and a half.