“We need to get down the cost of care, and we also need to protect innovation because that is the future of health care”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor about how Medicare for All will keep the United States from pursuing lifesaving medical advancements to the detriment of patients in the United States and worldwide.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today again, as I have week after week, to highlight the health care policy disaster that Democrats have labeled as Medicare for All.
“This mislabeled one-size-fits-all approach takes health insurance away from 180 million Americans who have earned, who get their health insurance on the job.
“Still, many Democrat members, many presidential candidates, support this radical proposal which would actually eliminate on-the-job insurance.
“It’s been offered originally by Senator Sanders, this so-called Medicare for All bill would also dramatically raise taxes, it would destroy Medicare as we know it and, of course, it would ration care.
“Last week, I discussed health care rationing in Britain and in Canada. Today, my focus is the plan’s impact on medical innovation.
“Now, as a doctor, I continue to remain astonished at how far medical technology has come in the 30 years from the time I started to practice medicine. Scientific breakthroughs are saving lives all around the world.
“I know because my wife Bobbi is a breast cancer survivor.
“According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate for women with breast cancer has fallen nearly 40 percent. More women are living longer after being diagnosed and treated.
“And the progress is due to earlier detection as well as better treatment. It’s a combination. And this is not limited to breast cancer alone.
“The death rate for all cancer patients has steadily declined. The diagnosis of cancer is no longer considered a death penalty. People survive and thrive. We’ve made tremendous strides. And U.S. brainpower has led the way.
“According to the New York Times, the United States is as they quote, ‘home to an outsize share of global [health care] innovation.’
“The innovation comes from America.
“Patients the world over depend upon our medical breakthroughs.
“So what happens if we put Washington in charge of all of U.S. health care?
“Well then, Washington bureaucrats – not you, not your family, not your doctor, not scientists, but Washington bureaucrats – will call the shots.
“So let’s look again at Britain, which has a government-run system.
“There’s a recent newspaper headline in the British newspaper The Guardian, and it’s enlightening. The headline says this, ‘National Health Service cancer scans left unread for weeks’ The cancer scans have been left unread for weeks.
“The Guardian reports, ‘Cancer scans showing the presence or spread of the disease are going unread for as long as six weeks.’
“I mean think of that. You’re a patient. There is cancer. It’s ongoing. And it’s spreading. You’ve had a scan. Waiting six weeks to know what’s happening with your own body.
“Cancer scan reports used to take a week, then about a month and now six weeks.
“As a result, according to one of the radiologist in Britain: ‘Unexpected and critical findings are going unreported for weeks.’ And as he said, ‘We are now just firefighting.’ Patients are getting the scans and they’re waiting for results.
“Look, American patients would simply not tolerate this. They wouldn’t in my home state. They wouldn’t in your home state. American patients will not tolerate this.
“That’s why we can’t afford to lose our competitive edge.
“The return of our investment in medical research and development in this country is absolutely tremendous.
“And it’s thanks to U.S. investment in innovation. That’s why patients and patient care is improving not just in the United States but worldwide.
“And so President Trump is asking Europe and other developed countries to start paying their fair share.
“The president is right. American patients shouldn’t have to foot all of the bill for global cures.
“Still, U.S. patients will surely suffer if Washington bureaucrats start blocking new innovations.
“And as I said last week, the Congressional Budget Office they came out they talked about their report on what Medicare for All would mean. And they said there would be a delay. A delay in treatment as well as a delay in technology if we had a one-size-fits-all health care system and 180 million Americans lost the insurance they get from work.
“Patients in England have bureaucrats as judge and as jury weighing the value of every advancement, seeing if they can even have it in that country.
“And what we see is the bureaucrats are denying lifesaving treatments, much of it invented in the United State.
“British patients recently protested their National Health Service. They protested because the National Health Service refused to permit the use of a cutting-edge drug to treat cystic fibrosis.
“The protesters ended up placing T-shirts in Parliament Square representing the 255 people in England who have died as a result of the refusal of England to prove the use of a drug that exists and that works.
“Of course we all agree the prices of medication need to come down. In England, the government just says nope, we’re not going to have that treatment, that cure to be used in our country.
“We need to get down the cost of care, and we also need to protect innovation because that is the future of health care.
“Doctors and scientists need the freedom to give us the next generation of lifesaving drugs.
“That’s why I’m concerned that, under the Democrats’ plan, such medical progress is threatened.
“Clearly, Democrats have taken a hard-left turn when it comes to health care and when it comes to the role of imposing more government in our lives.
“They want to take away your health insurance you get from work.
“In place of on-the-job insurance, they want one expensive new government-run program for everyone.
“Democrats’ extreme scheme is expected to cost $32 trillion. It’s so expensive in fact that even doubling everyone’s taxes wouldn’t cover it.
“And that means Washington bureaucrats will be restricting your care.
“You’ll lose the freedom to choose your doctor. You’ll lose the freedom to choose your hospital.
“And bureaucrats will limit your access to new treatments as well as cutting-edge technologies.
“It’s hard to know how many months you’ll have to wait months for urgently needed care. We’ve seen it in Canada, we’ve seen it in England, and we do not want to see it here in the United States.
“Because delayed care becomes denied care.
“Why should you pay more, which is what this so-called Medicare for All does, to wait longer for worse care? Why would America want that?
“That’s exactly what the Democrats are proposing.
“Republicans, meanwhile, are focused on real reforms. Reforms that lower costs without lowering standards.
“That’s the key difference. We want to lower costs but not standards. In England, they say well, it’s free, but you’re going to have to wait a long time for your free care.
“The Democrats’ proposal actually lowers the standards while limiting your choices and raising your costs.
“It’s time to reject the Democrats’ one-size-fits-all health care scheme.
“Instead, let’s ensure that our patients get the innovative care they need, from a doctor they choose, at lower costs.”