This morning, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) appeared on NBC's “Meet the Press” to discuss today's expected vote on health insurance reform. Appearing with Republican Leader John Boehner (OH), Leader Hoyer explained the benefits Americans will experience as a result of reform and condemned Republican efforts throughout the debate - from “death panels” to other recent actions - to distract from the substantive issues included in reform legislation.
Read excerpts from the interview below and click here
to watch the complete interview.
DAVID GREGORY: “Leader Hoyer, I want to get to a couple of substantive points. Briefly, three top things that Americans will feel from health care reform this year.”
LEADER HOYER: “Availability of insurance; availability for small businesses; for seniors, the ‘doughnut holes’ are going to be closed; people who have children up to … 26 years of age will have access to be on their insurance policies; immediate reduction in prices for small business, they're going to have … availability of group policies and tax credits for small businesses and individuals to get insurance.”
“I think the tone of this entire debate has been denigrated, has been brought down frankly by the rhetoric of government takeover, socialism, things that are simply not accurate or true. But it has put people in fear and when they're fearful and angry, they don't look at the substance. But when you ask them questions about the substance of the bills – which is the point I made earlier, David – they say yes, that makes sense, that's common sense … whether it's the insurance reforms [or] the affordability.”
“This is the biggest deficit reducing bill we'll have an opportunity to vote on in a very long period of time and very frankly, John Boehner said in 1993 that if we adopted President Clinton's economic program, the economy was going to go downhill very, very quickly, unemployment would rocket up, and the deficits would explode. Exactly the opposite happened…. Best economy we've had in my lifetime.”
“We made a very big momentous decision in 1993, as I pointed out, on a partisan line. No Republicans voted for it. We had the best economy as a result in our lifetimes. However, having said that, the ‘dangerous takeovers,’ this language really distracts us from the debate on the substance. Harry and Louise said in 1994, you're going to pay more and get less if we do something. We did nothing and guess what happened? They paid more and they got less…. This is an opportunity both to save money in the short-term and in the long-term, and unlike [the Republican plan], which included 3 million people, this includes 32 million people.”