Dear Bruce  
It was a pleasure to speak with you on the phone. 
Below you will find the Congressional Record from last evening. 
I will be in touch regarding an interview in the future. 
Please let me know if you need any thing else!  Kate 
 
[Congressional Record: February 25, 2010 (House)]
[Page H923-H929]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr25fe10-157]                         
 
[[Page H928]]
 
                       PROGRESSIVES OR SOCIALISTS
 
Mr. GOHMERT. I appreciate my friend from Iowa, and I appreciate the 
points that he's been making.
  You heard so much information today. It was a bit mind-boggling when 
you think about the number of people that were in the so-called summit 
today, and not only did they not have a copy of the bills that they 
were going to try to ram down America's throat, they seemed to be a 
little miffed when people like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan had data right 
at their fingertips to talk about, because it's very discomforting, I 
would imagine, if you get very indignant and say there's no money in 
any of these bills for abortion.
  We heard the same thing right here on this floor just within feet of 
where my friend from Iowa is. We heard people say when we debated the 
House bill that there is no money in this bill for abortion. And I 
don't infer any evil intent or intent to deceive, but I know when 
people say that, since clearly they have no intent to deceive, they 
just hadn't read the bill before they came to the floor or went to the 
summit to try to convince people about.
  And let's face it. It was called a summit today. Summit meaning 
height. It was the height of something. And we'll let the Speaker 
figure out for us what that height was, but it was the height of 
something, the summit of something.
 
                              {time}  2300
 
  But the President himself, I think he was within maybe 1 minute of 
taking 2 hours of all that time by himself. And I was certified as a 
mediator. I went through training and certification as an international 
arbitrator. I know something about coming together and mediating. And 
when you have one side sitting here and another side sitting over here 
and you say I am going to be fair-handed between the time, and you take 
individually more time beating up on the poor little guys over here who 
got even less time among that whole group. I am not sure how many there 
were on each side, but certainly over a dozen. And the one mediator 
takes 2 hours of the time just pushing his position, belittling the 
position of others. And any time he is corrected, since obviously he 
has no intent to deceive, so when he makes a mistake on exactly what 
the facts are, having somebody try to correct it and then having them 
interrupted, as my friend points out.
  But like we had the discussion here on the floor, our friend Bart 
Stupak across the aisle had an amendment to take out the abortion 
provisions that would allow Federal funding for abortion. So gee, why 
in the world would you need an amendment to take out the abortion 
funding if there were no abortion funding in the bill? But, as I am 
sure my friend from Iowa knows, if you went to page 110 of the House 
bill, there is, and, of course, I have been through, I got tags all 
through this stuff as you can see, because I was trying to go through 
to see what was fact and what was fiction. But right here on page 110, 
subsection capital B, ``Abortions''--this is the topic--``Abortions for 
which public funding is allowed.'' And then it goes on and sets things 
out like that.
  So when somebody comes to the floor and says there is no public 
funding for abortion in this bill at all, and we know also that the 
Senate refused to allow anything close to the Stupak amendment to cut 
out Federal funding, then we know that this same kind of language was 
in the bill that was going to survive and that they were going to work 
from. Because as I have heard my friend Mr. Stupak say, if that 
language is not taken out with a Stupak-type amendment, he can't vote 
for it, nor can maybe 40 of our friends across the aisle. But 
``Abortions for which the public funding is allowed.'' Now, you know 
people did not read that on the floor. And our Speaker did not know 
that that language was there. I am sure she didn't prepare the bill.
  And we also know that they didn't read some of the other provisions. 
Because I am sure that when people from the President on down say, ``If 
you like your health care you are going to get to keep it,'' I am sure 
they didn't intend to deceive anybody. I am sure they didn't. But it 
also tells me they hadn't read the bill that is before us. And this 
language, from the best I can tell, as my friend pointed out earlier, 
from the 11-page summary and then the 19-page summary of the summary. 
Both of those can be obtained, of course, from the White House Web 
site. You can either look at their 11-page summary or their 19-page 
summary of the summary. But I can't find that this language is removed 
in their summary or summary of the summary. So if you look at page 91 
of the bill, it's entitled, ``Protecting the Choice to Keep Current 
Coverage.''
  This is the provision that will allow you to keep your coverage if 
you like it. So, being an old judge, chief justice, I kind of feel like 
I appreciate the representations, but as I used to tell the lawyers 
that argued before me, I appreciate your opinion, but I would really 
rather see the language for myself so I can read it and figure out what 
it really says.
  So, you go look at the language itself, and voila, subsection A, 
``Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage.'' And it describes that, 
``The term grandfathered health insurance coverage means individual 
health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect 
before the first day of Y1.'' That is the first date that the bill goes 
into effect. And then you have got two basic subparagraphs, number one, 
``Limitation on new enrollment.'' And that says, and I will quote from 
that subsection, in order to keep your coverage if you like it, it 
says, ``The individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage 
does not enroll any individual in such coverage.''
  Now, you get what that means. It means the two different gentlemen I 
have had over the last few weeks that approached me back in my 
district, and one of them said, ``I am not concerned at all about what 
you're doing about health care because I was part of a union and a part 
of a big corporation. I retired. They got me a great health care plan, 
and I'm pleased with it. And I'm not worried about anybody else.'' The 
other, as it turned out, had been part of the same union, part of the 
same company and retired. He was concerned, and he said, ``Tell me more 
about how I can keep my policy.''
  For people like that, all they would have to do is read this 
individual provision. So the gentleman who said, I'm really not 
worried, I said, ``Well, let me ask you, since this says here that you 
can't keep your coverage even if you like it if another individual is 
enrolled in such coverage, I have to ask, does anybody ever get added 
to your health care coverage from your union that you were part of and 
retired from and now have this great retired medical policy?'' And he 
says, ``Well, yeah, people retire all the time.'' Bad news. That is 
really bad news, because that means they get added to the policy. That 
means under ``Limitation on New Enrollment,'' number one, you're 
eliminated from keeping your coverage and you get bounced over onto the 
Federal insurance exchange program.
  The second limitation might affect some other Americans who like 
their insurance and would like to keep it. It is this. The title is, 
``Limitation on changes in terms or conditions.'' I am just reading 
from the bill. I'm not making this up. ``The issuer does not change any 
of its terms or conditions, including benefits and cost sharing.'' You 
get that? If the insurance company that has the policy you like, like 
these two gentlemen that retired from a major company after having 
their union negotiate a good policy, if any term or condition in their 
policy changes, if the benefits change at all, they add benefits, they 
take any benefits away, they say, well, you know
 
[[Page H929]]
 
what, we found out this treatment was not safe so we're removing it 
from something we'll provide coverage for, you find out something is a 
brand new treatment that works, we add that, well, you've changed your 
benefits. And it says here you can't change your benefits if you're 
going to keep it. And if you change the copay, if you change the 
deductible, if you change the price of the policy, bad news. Under 
number two, you lose your policy and you get kicked over under the 
Federal insurance exchange program.
  Now, I was intrigued today to hear one of our Democratic friends 
there at the White House summit give a wonderful example about the 
Federal insurance exchange program. He gave this example or something 
like this. I was listening to two or three things at the same time, I 
had hearings and meetings and things going on. But as I understood it, 
he said, ``Well, like when I want to go look for a flight or make 
travel arrangements, I will go onto Orbitz or Expedia or something like 
that. Well, that's all this Federal insurance program is. You know, it 
helps you find the best policy.''
  Well, that is a wonderful point. I have been trying to find where the 
government owns Orbitz and Expedia. I can't find that they own those 
programs. The best I can determine, whether it's Travelocity, Orbitz, 
Expedia, whatever, I can't find the government owns any of those. I 
can't find that it is a Federal Orbitz, a Federal Expedia, Travelocity, 
whatever it is. I can't find that. Apparently, these are private 
companies. And apparently, from what he said, he likes what the private 
companies are doing.
  Well, we want people in America to have choice. We want them to have 
the best choice. And I bet you if you asked Americans, and said, 
``We're thinking about creating a travel agency, and the government 
will make all your travel arrangements for you. You just contact our 
government office. We're going to give you an option to all the other 
airlines, all the other travel agencies. We're just going to let the 
government do that because we feel like you are owed a public option 
when you travel.'' I wonder how many people would ever go to the 
Federal option, because it is not competitive.
 
                              {time}  2310
 
  The Federal Government never has to compete. It can run in the red. 
They don't care. Their salaries are not dependent on how well the 
company does.
  And so I also want to point out that if you look here at section 501, 
the title of section 501 is ``Tax on Individuals Without Acceptable 
Health Care Coverage.'' ``Tax on Individuals Without Acceptable Health 
Care Coverage.'' And this place is supposed to care about the little 
guys, the guys that are out there working from dawn until dusk and some 
of them into the night to try to make enough money and then go to 
another job and moonlight to try to help the family, help the kids have 
what they need to get through school? And you're going to say, You know 
what? You make a little too much to be under the poverty line that will 
allow us to just give you free health insurance or health care, so 
under section 501, we're just going to have to tax you because you're 
not buying a Cadillac insurance policy.
  But then again, we also know if you have a Cadillac insurance 
policy--which to me, Cadillacs are great cars. I used to have one 
before I ever came to Congress. I can't afford one now, but they were 
good cars. And, unfortunately, Cadillacs may not be what they used to 
be now that the government motors owns them or makes them.
  But nonetheless, can you imagine the arrogance of a government that 
tells people, You're not buying as expensive of an insurance policy 
that I think you ought to have so I am going to tax you for it?
  And in the summary, the President's plan points out--or the changes 
to the House and Senate bill says, in the summary, You know what? The 
medical device tax--what some of us referred to as the wheelchair tax. 
Of course, they initially stuck the medical device tax in there, and 
there was no threshold above which you had to be to pay an extra tax if 
you had the misfortune of needing a medical device. And so some began 
to refer to it as the tampon tax, because that meets the requirements 
of a medical device and it could be taxed. And the threshold of a 
hundred dollars is put in there.
  So the President says, You know what? We may just create a whole new 
excise tax that everybody is going to have to pay. Sorry about that 
$250,000 exclusion I told you about at one time, but you're still going 
to have to pay more taxes. This is chock full of this stuff. That is 
why most Americans do not want this bill.
  And if you look, there are all kinds of, still, pot sweeteners for 
Senators or Representatives that were reluctant. They changed some of 
those, but the pot sweeteners were in there to try to get their vote. 
They don't help all Americans. They sweeten the pot only for those 
votes that they think they need to get it passed. That is not right. 
That is not good for all Americans. That's not consistent with the 
equal protection that is promised to all Americans under the 
Constitution. You ought to have equal opportunity, and they don't have 
it.
  I appreciate so much the time as my friend has yielded.
 
 
Kate C. Thompson
Congressman Louie Gohmert | First District of Texas
511 Cannon Building |Washington, DC 20515
T. 202.225.3035 | C: 202.258.0006