October 07,2009

Press Contact:

Scott Mulhauser/Erin Shields (202) 224-4515

Floor Statement of Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) Regarding Health Care Reform

Hippocrates once said: "A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings.''

Every day we see the real-world consequences for Americans who have been deprived of that blessing. A Harvard study found that every year in America, lack of health coverage leads to 45,000 deaths. People without health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance. No one should die because they cannot afford health care.

Every 30 seconds another American files for bankruptcy after a serious health problem--every 30 seconds. Every year, about 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure. Why? Because of unaffordable medical costs. No one should go bankrupt because they get sick. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that health care coverage for the average family now costs more than $13,000 a year. If current trends continue, by the year 2019, 10 years from now, the average family plan will cost more than $30,000 a year.

No one should have to live in fear of financial ruin from crushing insurance premiums. Americans are looking for commonsense solutions to these problems. Americans want a balanced plan that takes the best ideas from both sides. Americans want their leaders to work together to craft a health care package that will get 60 votes it needs to pass.

The Congressional Budget Office has just given us their analysis of legislation we put together in the Finance Committee and it shows that our bill reduces the deficit by $81 billion over 10 years. That is a reduction in the Federal deficit of $81 billion. CBO also says the legislation out of the Finance Committee continues to reduce the deficit in the outyears; that is, the years after 10 years, the second 10 years, and the legislation increases coverage from 83 percent to 94 percent, so 94 percent of Americans will have health insurance.