Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Full Transcript of House Democrats' Press Conference on Introduction of Health Care Legislation

/PRNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Chairman Henry Waxman, Chairman Charles Rangel, Chairman George Miller, Chairman John Dingell and other senior House Democrats held a press conference in the Capitol this afternoon to discuss legislation introduced today by the Tri-Committees on health care reform.

Below is a transcript of the entire press conference.

Speaker Pelosi. Good afternoon.

This is indeed a happy day, for today we are introducing historic and transformative legislation that will benefit all Americans -- America's Affordable Health Choices Act. It is a health insurance act for the great middle class of America.

I'd like to thank our committee chairs for the work they have done to ensure quality, affordability, and accessibility for America's middle class. In doing so, I am joining the praise of the President of the United States and the praise that he heaped upon them earlier today when the bill was filed. I'd like to acknowledge the great work of Chairman Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Rangel of the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Miller of the Education and Labor Committee, and to all of their staffs who have worked so hard to make this day possible.

I especially want to acknowledge Chairman Dingell. I said to Chairman Dingell just before we came in here, "Are you happy? Isn't this a great day?" He said, "I'm happy, and my father would be happy, too." Chairman Dingell, every year in his long service in Congress, has introduced universal health care legislation, and now he is the lead author on this historic legislation that will take us to that place. Thank you Mr. Dingell.

I'd also like to acknowledge some other members of the leadership who are here. Mr. Hoyer, whom you'll be hearing from later, important leader at organizing and coordinating this effort; Mr. Clyburn, our distinguished Whip; Mr. Larson, the chair of the Caucus; Mr. Becerra, the Vice-Chair; Mr. Van Hollen wears two leadership hats as Assistant to the Speaker and Chair of the DCCC. In addition to that, the chairs of the subcommittees who've worked very hard on this, bringing their extensive knowledge and experience in health care and health care insurance reform -- Chairman Stark of the of the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Andrews of Education and Labor, and Chairman Pallone of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Have I acknowledged everyone? I can acknowledge everyone in the Caucus, this has been such a joint effort.

Over the coming weeks Congress will continue working with President Obama to make health care reform work for middle-class Americans. This bill is a starting point and a path to success. To lower costs to consumers and businesses, to give greater choice to Americans, including keeping your doctor or plan if you like them, better quality of care putting doctors, not insurance companies back in charge, and to provide stability and peace of mind that you cannot be denied care or coverage for a pre-existing condition.

This is so important to the middle class. You cannot be denied care from a pre-existing condition. If you change jobs, lose your job, or start a new business, you still have health care. This is very important to the entrepreneurial spirit of America. Inaction is not an option for us. That is why we are still on schedule to do what we have planned, to vote on this legislation before we leave for the August recess.

I'm now pleased to introduce the distinguished Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and I do so with admiration and appreciation for his great leadership in bringing us to where we are today along with the other chairs, Mr. Waxman.

Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

This legislation is landmark legislation, and this is a defining moment for our country. We are about to undertake what has eluded so many Presidents and Congresses for far too long, and that is the objective of getting good quality, affordable health care insurance to every American.

The President was elected with the mandate that he undertake this very ambitious goal. And he outlined how he wanted to achieve it, by building on the system that we have now, by giving people the option to keep the insurance that they have, if they like it, and to allow the seniors to stay in Medicare but improve that system.

But for those who have no insurance, or for those small businesses that cannot afford insurance, our legislation will allow people to choose an insurance option. And I emphasize the word "choice" because that choice and competition is one very formidable way to hold down the costs.

We are trying to achieve a number of different objectives. But holding down the costs in health care is certainly, by far, our number one objective. The system is unsustainable. We cannot continue to put more and more money into health care, especially when you recognize that this country spends more money on health care than any other Western industrialized nation.

And yet, we have 46 million to 50 million people uninsured, and more and more stories of people who have insurance that doesn't work for them when they need that insurance to kick in and pay for their medical bills.

We can't afford it as a country, paying for Medicare and Medicaid. We can't afford it for those who are buying insurance that's going up every year. We can't afford it for governments at the local level that help pay for health care as well.

So our system is dysfunctional, and this legislation, we hope, will bring a system together that will serve all of the American people and all those who provide care for those people.

The legislation that we are rolling out today is an improvement on the draft that was released a couple of weeks ago. It reflects the input from many of our colleagues.

We have a number of items, from making sure that we protect small businesses to making sure that people have more options, and a number of other changes that you'll be able to look at when you see the draft.

This draft, which is the product of the three committees, will now be presented to each of our three committees. And in our committee, on the Energy and Commerce, we will work through some of the differences we have among the members, both Democrats and Republicans, with the objective that we are going to get a bill.

We cannot allow this issue to be delayed. We cannot put it off again. We, quite frankly, cannot go home for a recess unless the House and the Senate both pass bills to reform and restructure our health care system.

And that is what we're going to be doing in the next three weeks, accomplishing this goal in the House and the Senate, so that we can get together and work out one final piece of legislation for the President to sign.

I'm pleased that we've had such strong leadership from our Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and our Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, and our Whip, Jim Clyburn, and others in our caucus.

And we are -- we are moving forward. We are going to -- we are going to accomplish what many people have felt wouldn't come in our lifetime, but we are going to make it happen in the House this next few weeks, and in the Congress by the end of this year, to the President's desk for his signature.

I'm pleased now to yield the floor to the very distinguished Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, a key participant in the legislation that we are rolling out today, Chairman Charlie Rangel.

Chairman Rangel. Thank you, Henry.

Madam Speaker, I almost feel like I'm one of the luckiest people in the world, to have stayed here so long to wait for a President that has made a personal political commitment to provide health care for all of America.

To go through so many Speakers and to have such a dynamic Speaker to be working with to bring all these Indian chiefs together and to read from one page for America, to let people know that those 50 million people that don't have insurance, they're getting health care, but to remind America that they're paying for it, the doctors are charging for it, the hospitals are charging for it, the health insurance people are charging for it, the rates are just soaring.

There's not anybody in America that's an adult that doesn't have some horror story about somebody that lost their lives, lost their home, lost their jobs, lost their insurance.

And just to think that these people will be able to work anyplace with their families knowing that they are insured, to have the self-esteem to know that such a large part of their disposable income would not have to be for insurance, but America and our government will be there to effectively compete, to have people to be able to make decisions based on what's good for them and their families, and to know that we're going to provide the providers there so that people can now look into the future and know that if they really just don't want to make a buck, but want to do what doctors are supposed to do, to serve people and to cure people and to prevent illness, how lucky we are to be in a Congress with such leadership, and to have a President that's going to give us an opportunity that if we do nothing else, we can say we were a part of the team that brought universal health to the people of the United States of America.

I want to really thank Pete Stark. As old as he is, he spent so much of his time working on this subject, and (inaudible)...

He keeps calling me "Dad." But Chairman Miller's been a dynamic person to work with -- this whole team. And we have promised the President and we promised the American people that we've been challenged and we will produce. And thank you for giving us an opportunity.

George Miller, the dynamic chairman of Education and Labor.

Chairman Miller. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

This is a very exciting day for so many of us that have been involved in public service and in the Congress of the United States most of our lives, to stand here today with the introduction of our legislation that will embrace the desires of the American people to have real health care, real coverage, real affordability and real access, and to stand here with the introduction of legislation that meets the goals that were articulated by President Obama, to lower the cost, to preserve choice, and expand access to care.

Our bill addresses America's economic and fiscal health and its medical well being of all our people. Let me be specific about what our bill means to the average American. Our bill will lower costs for health care. There will be no more co-pays or deductibles for preventive care; no more rate increases because of pre-existing conditions or because of your gender or where you happen to work.

There will be an annual cap on your out-of-pocket expenses. Group rates will be available for individuals who have to purchase insurance for themselves. Guaranteed and affordable oral, hearing and vision care for our children.

Our bill will provide choice of care. You can keep your doctor and your current plan if you like them. Your choices will be protected and enhanced. You will have access to a wide variety of choices for quality and affordable plans, including a high-quality public health insurance option to compete with the private insurers.

Our bill will increase the quality of care. You and your doctor will make health care decisions, not your insurance company. More family doctors and nurses will be able to enter the workforce, helping to guarantee your access to better treatment that meets your needs. Mental health care will be covered.

Our bill will offer stability and a peace of mind. Never again will you go without health insurance. You will have the peace of mind of knowing that you will never lose coverage. If you lose your job, you switch jobs, you start a business, you will keep your coverage.

You will never be denied coverage because of those pre-existing conditions. And you won't -- and you won't face any lifetime limits on how much instance companies will pay, meaning that never again will you be one treatment away from bankruptcy.

And our reforms will cover 97 percent of the Americans by year 2019.

Beginning this week -- or beginning tomorrow or the next day -- our committees will mark up in our respective areas of jurisdiction. Our Republican and Democratic colleagues are already busy drafting amendments to the bill, and they will have an opportunity to offer their amendments.

We will continue to improve our bill by working with those with constructive ideas, and we'll endeavor to satisfy the many competing demands that naturally accompany a bill of this scope and importance.

We will in this year produce a bill that is fair and fully paid for, reduces cost, preserves choice, and expands access for all Americans. That was the charge that President Obama gave this Congress when he was sworn into office. It was the charge that the American people gave President Obama when they voted for him in the election. And this Congress is delivering on that promise for the first time in the history of this country.

And one who has worked on this longer and harder than any of us, Chairman John Dingell.

Chairman Dingell. Thank you very much, Chairman Miller.

Madam Speaker, our leader, my colleagues, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Rangel, and our leader, Mr. Hoyer, I am proud, indeed, to be here with my great colleagues who have worked so hard on this undertaking. And I'm delighted to be a participant in this great undertaking.

As mentioned, this is the first time we have gotten to this point. We're going to cover every American. We're going to see to it that they have choice. We're going to see to it that not only are the humanitarian concerns of people with regard to health care met, but that an economic calamity, which is coming unless we do so, will be headed off because of the work that has been done today.

This is a good bill. It is a uniquely American solution to address the insecurities in health care felt by the American people. The burden of costs of health care has been placed on the economy. And the competitive disadvantages experienced by our businesses will be removed.

Today, it marks a major step in this long journey of ours. However, it is not the last step. And while we greet this day with delight, we know that we have a lot of work before us.

My old dad would be pleased. He started this out in 1943 with Harry Truman. And we have been working on it ever since.

And, Madam Speaker, I want to tell you how pleased we are that we can finally say the House is going to consider this and that we are going to pass it.

And I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Caucus and the larger House of Representatives to solving the greatest single humanitarian and health care problem that's faced by our people.

This nation has a proud history of protecting our elders, our newborns, our sick, and those who are the weakest and least capable of taking care of themselves.

We created Social Security during a time of economic calamity. We passed Medicare legislation during a period of civil unrest and a divisive war. Some of our greatest acts of compassion have come at the most difficult and trying of moments.

We are working to accomplish something that is greater than us as Members of Congress, and something which must, should and I hope, will transcend partisan divides and bickering. This has been tried by many Presidents and congresses before. However, this time is different. This time we will be successful. This time we must be successful.

This American solution of ours will help those needing care gain access to the finest medical care in the world. And there's an interesting thing about this country. We have the finest medical care, but a lot of our people can't afford it and don't get it. We're going to cure that.

Not only do we have a chance to do the right thing for our and about our people, but also for our economy. The high cost of health care is not only a part of today's economic woes, but it will cause a still greater problem in the years to come because if you draw on the line -- draw on the graph two lines, the first being the cost of medical care and the second the gross domestic product, the two of them will cross sometime around 2070 or 2080.

We have an opportunity then to prevent the next great economic catastrophe, but we must learn from the current economic crisis that we've inherited. To protect the health and the well being of our citizens and our country, and our help to our businesses to remain competitive, we must be bold. We must be strong, and we must respond to the challenge that we have before us and that we are confronted with now on behalf of our nation's citizens. And we have to address the problem, cure it, and pass this legislation now.

I'm proud to be a part of it.

And I have the privilege of introducing the great majority leader who is going to lead us in that undertaking, Mr. Hoyer.

Majority Leader Hoyer. Before I speak, I would be pleased to yield to my friend the Whip, if he would like to say something.

Majority Leader Hoyer. Thank you very much.

Speaker Pelosi. He's going to get the votes.

Majority Leader Hoyer. Madam Speaker, congratulations to you for your single- minded focus, your purposeful direction of all of us to work together to accomplish this day.

Six decades we have been trying to make sure that every American had the availability of quality, affordable health care -- six decades. There's been a Dingell in every decade.

John Dingell, we owe a great gratitude to your father, because your father was the leader on health care, and you have been a leader on health care.

To Henry Waxman, to Charlie Rangel and to George Miller, who have worked together in an unprecedented fashion, who have said, yes, each of us have jurisdiction, yes, each of us could produce a product, but we believe that this issue is so important that we must come together to produce a product -- a product for the American people.

President Obama has, as Speaker Pelosi indicated today, issued a very strong statement of how pleased he is that this product is today being put on the table and that it will be marked up later this week and perhaps into next week we enter a process of improvement.

As Henry Waxman said, this is not the original document that was introduced or put on the table as a draft. It has been improved. It has responded to the views and concerns of not only those Members of Congress, but those outside Congress, those who are users of health care and those who are providers of health care.

As Chairman Waxman has indicated, they're going to be continuing to consider ways and means to improve this legislation.

As the President indicates, this is an excellent work for the American people.

It seeks to bring costs down and it will bring costs down, not just costs down for government, but more importantly, costs down for individuals and families who are being priced out of the market, who understand that they've got health care now, but are worried about losing it. That's what this issue is about.

And I've had some Americans say, "Don't mess with my health care." We heard what they said. And if they like what they have, they keep what they have. This does not mandate any changes and they will have choice of doctor and hospital. This does not in any way undermine. But what it does do, it gives them the security that if they should lose their job or their economic circumstances should change and they can't afford health insurance that they used to have, now have, this ensures that they will have that insurance.

So as we proceed in this process, let me say to you as the Majority Leader who's talked to you a lot about our schedule, we're on schedule. We're going to be paid for. I don't know if we'll be under budget, but we'll be on budget. We're going to pay for this bill. We're not going to add additional debt to the American people.

And we will produce a product that will give to the American people a sense of security and well being for them, for their husbands, their wives and their children that they so desperately want.

The overwhelming majority of the American public says, "We want health reform." John McCain said, "I want health reform." Hillary Clinton said, "I want health reform." And Barack Obama said, "I want health reform," and the American people overwhelmingly elected him President of the United States.

And I want to tell you, in closing, I've talked to almost every member of our caucus and there is not a member of the caucus who is not for health care reform, to making sure that we bring costs down, make health care affordable and available to all, and make sure that they have the quality that American has to offer.

So again, Madam Speaker, in closing let me congratulate you, John Dingell -- no one here has kept the faith longer and more focused than you have. God bless you, sir.

Chairman Dingell. Thank you.

Majority Leader Hoyer. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Speaker Pelosi. I thank all of you all of you and again join you in saluting the great leadership of President Barack Obama. Without that leadership, this day would not be possible. More importantly, a day when he signs the bill into law, making tremendous progress to the American people on this important issue that is relevant to their economic and physical well-being.

Leader Hoyer mentioned, and I associate myself with his praise of Mr. Dingell, once again, Chairman Dingell and his father in saying the last six decades that every one of those decades has had a Dingell. And that's for sure. Every decade has had a Kennedy as well, and I am so pleased that Patrick Kennedy is here -- his eyes lit up when George Miller mentioned mental health.

And as we gather here, the HELP Committee -- my understanding is that today they will be passing the bill in the United States Senate -- the HELP Committee, will be passing out their bill. So please give our thanks and best wishes to your father, Patrick, because he too was so important in making this day possible.

With that, I would be pleased to take any questions you may have.

Q: Can you address how you're going to deal in committee with the -- I mean, the Blue Dogs, the 40 who signed that letter last week, they have enough Members to significantly change the legislation in committee, and they're still against the public option be implemented right away, and they have reservations about the surtax going in before doing more cost cutting.

How are you going to address your fellow Democrats' concerns in committee while keeping the structure of this bill?

Speaker Pelosi. I'm going to yield to the chairman on that, but to say that we all associate ourselves with any additional cost cutting we can do. We want to squeeze every dollar we can have out of the system to have more savings, to reduce the need for revenues.

And we will have a strong level-playing-field public option, and some of the concerns raised by the Blue Dogs were well taken.

And with that, I will yield to Mr. Waxman, and then Mr. Hoyer.

Chairman Waxman. The Blue Dogs are the Democrats from especially the rural areas, and who have a specific fiscal conservative point of view that many of us share -- they play a very constructive role. I thought their letter last week was an outstanding letter, setting out the issues that concern them and concern all of us.

We are going to have to work through those issues. It's not a correct statement to say they're against a public option. They want some changes in the public option. Some would prefer not to have a public option, but we have to bring everybody together, because a large part of our Democratic Caucus wants a public option, as does the President of the United States.

But their main focus -- and I welcome this -- is to reduce the costs in this legislation, and in that regard we're going to work with them to achieve those goals and to get a bill that all of us can support.

The Democratic Party's a big tent. We have different parts of it pushing for different aspects of the problem, and we all have to come together, compromise, and work out our differences, and then stand behind legislation that will accomplish this important goal.

Speaker Pelosi. Mr. Hoyer? Mr. Leader?

Majority Leader Hoyer. The chairman's absolutely right, I think. But I want to just reiterate for you, when I articulated that every member of the caucus wants to see health reform enacted, that included all 52 members of the Blue Dogs.

The Blue Dogs have a perspective, like all of us. It's not unanimous, but a very significant focus, which is shared by them. But because they are in favor of the objective, I expect and have seen them working very hard to get to a place where we would create the consensus for a significant majority for this bill before we leave here in August.

So I have great confidence in the chairmen, all three chairmen, bringing together a bill, one bill, that will enjoy the broad support of our caucus.

Speaker Pelosi. I might add that under Steny's leadership we'll be bringing to the floor legislation by Baron Hill, George Miller, who else are the co-sponsors on...

Majority Leader Hoyer. Peter Welch.

Speaker Pelosi. Peter Welch, on PAYGO.

Majority Leader Hoyer. And Bobby Scott.

Speaker Pelosi. And Bobby Scott. So a cross-section of our Caucus supporting PAYGO, really an issue that the Blue Dogs have taken the lead on and that the Congress, the Democratic Caucus has adopted. So we thank them for their leadership there.

We are all committed to fiscal soundness. We thank them for their leadership in that regard.

Q: Madam Speaker, can you tell us what the total CBO estimate is on the bill? And can you give us a couple of examples of where you've changed the bill, from the few weeks ago until now?

Speaker Pelosi. Mr. Miller and Mr. Waxman can talk about the changes.

Chairman Rangel. Well, one of the things that we had concern with -- and I have to admit I learned a lot as we moved along, especially the diversity that exists throughout this great country, where people have different needs, people have different ways of providing health care, and not all of it appears to be equitable.

As a result of the deep interest and concern that some Members had, we directed that there would be an investigation, a study, to see where the best possible medicine is being given at the -- at the most efficient way and the most efficient price, and we set aside $10 billion to make up for any inequities that could exist, and that would be handled by the federal administration.

So it's not the end; it's just the beginning. So many reforms, of course, as a result of this, that were in the bill, the people just didn't know where to find them. So we had to bring those things together, and a lot of people were pleased.

The small businesses that we are able to change the threshold, to be able to provide credits, for all of these, small business as well as big, want and many can't afford to provide care for their employees. And we provide incentives for them to do that.

So many of the concerns that had been in the bill, we brought them up, and we're pretty certain -- now, we've got a long way to go, but we really have eased a lot of concern that people have had.

Speaker Pelosi. Mr. Waxman?

Chairman Waxman. The Congressional Budget Office works its own measures of the costs at a process that is laborious and, for many of us, slower than we would like.

As a matter of fact, on our committee, we're going to have a bipartisan briefing by the CBO to try to understand how they come to some of their conclusions.

Some of our members get perplexed when we have very important preventive service that aren't scored as saving any money. I think CBO looks at the idea that maybe people stay alive longer and collect more Social Security, even though we don't have to pay for treatment of diseases that we can prevent.

But I want to go into that when we meet with the CBO soon.

I don't know if we have a specific CBO estimate, but we will have one very soon. And it is going to be in the -- in the context of what we've expected all along, that we are going to be holding down the costs, and that is going to be used to pay for a lot of this bill. And we're going to have need for revenue-raisers as well, which the Ways and Means Committee is providing because it's within their jurisdiction to help us meet that obligation.

Q: Just to follow up on that, Chairman Waxman, it seems that you probably must have some idea of the (inaudible) overall (inaudible) at this point -- I mean, since you're unveiling this bill to the American public, you must have an idea of how much it is going to cost.

Chairman Waxman. Well, I wouldn't want to speculate. I wouldn't want to speculate about exact amounts because CBO is going to come up with their official score, and that's the score we abide by.

So we should get that very soon, and we'll share it with everybody.

Speaker Pelosi. And the bill will be paid for.

Q: (Inaudible) proposed legislation. In this case, what do you see as the role of the President and Mr. Emanuel in helping to get votes in the House and perhaps in helping to pull the Senate toward your vision in the House bill?

Speaker Pelosi. Would any of my colleagues like to address that?

The President's leadership is essential to the success of this legislation. As Mr. Miller said, the American people called out for this in the election. The President has called upon the Congress to pass this legislation for health care to lower costs, improve quality, get better choices and to improve the quality of life of the American people.

Lowering costs is essential to this. As the President said, health care reform is entitlement reform. So a great deal of our fiscal health, to borrow a word, is dependent on this bill being paid for and with its prevention and wellness initiatives, to take down the cost of health care, therefore Medicare, Medicaid, reducing entitlements, lowering the national deficit. This is a priority for all of us. It is a priority for the President.

So the President in his values-based statement about what this means to the health of the American people and to our economy -- this is about our economy as well -- well, his leadership has gotten us to where we are now and will be essential as we go forward.

His leadership will also continue to bring us together. We have our three tenors who have worked in harmony in the House. We continue -- we hope to -- we know that that harmony will continue as we move to conference with the Senate. The President's role will be essential in all of this, whether it's speaking to many audiences, speaking to the American people about this, speaking to the Congress in general, speaking to individual Members, speaking to the aspirations of the American people to have this problem behind them as they go forward.


Chairman Waxman. I've got my answer. What's your question?


Q: My question...

Speaker Pelosi. (Inaudible) solo now.

Q: My question relates to the notion that tax increases should be held in reserve until the recession is over, and they can be applied to reducing the deficit. And also that the only way to reduce health costs is to change the way doctors and hospitals are paid for dealing with a patient writ large, rather than for every little jab that they do.

Chairman Waxman. As we mentioned, the changes in this proposal today, compared to the original draft, includes something on small businesses, to give more small businesses an exemption, not to place a greater burden on them. And we do that by $250,000 and below completely exempted; $250,000 to $400,000 will have a sliding scale. The original draft had it at $100,000 payroll.

The second big change is -- relates to the pharmaceutical area. While there are ideas of how to hold down the costs from the pharmaceutical side of the expenditures, we are -- have in our bill a requirement that the windfall that the pharmaceutical industry received from categorizing people who were in Medicaid as well as Medicare as Medicare instead of Medicaid, and losing the rebate that we used to get, that rebate will be reinstated and the money will be used to close -- to help close that donut hole that seniors face on their pharmaceuticals.

And the last issue that's a major one of the changes is pertinent to your question, so I'm not completely ignoring what you asked. And that is the fact that we have changes in this proposal from the original draft that will hold down the cost of health care by pilot projects of accountable organizations that will organize the delivery of care to reduce the individual fees for services that some people have claimed gives an incentive for more services and more fees.

We'll have accountability organizations, a greater combination of how to manage the delivery of care. And we're continuing to work on other ways to hold down the cost.

Having said that, we cannot hold down the cost sufficiently in health care to do all that we want to do. And so we are going to look to increasing revenues to help pay for this major reform.

Now, these revenue increases are targeted at making sure that health care is affordable, because providing someone with the opportunity to finally get a health insurance policy when in the fact -- in the past they've been discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition or excluded because an insurance company thought that that might be a person who could raise the possibility of more costs for their treatment and therefore exclude them from overage, we can't just have insurance reform without making health insurance affordable by assisting people in buying their insurance coverage. And that is going to require the expenditures not only by cuts in the system, but also by bringing in greater revenues.

I know that Chairman Rangel will talk about the revenue side.

You will get, by the way, a CBO estimate today of the total cost of this bill, and given the speculation of the range, I think that most people expect the range is going to be an amount that CBO will fill in later when they give you...


... the estimates.



And I'm going to yield to Charlie Rangel.

Chairman Rangel. The Congressional Budget Office is not our friend in terms of answering a question like that because they don't record the actual savings that people would feel in their pocketbooks, in their bank accounts, in their everyday conduct of trying to get health care paying off bills.

But it's safe to say as a guideline that when those people who get paid who have stakeholders in this can come together at the White House and say that this bill over 10 years will save the American people $2 trillion, those are real dollars even though they cannot be scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

So I'm satisfied that our country, our economy, individuals will be saving money by the investment that we make now.

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you all very much.

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