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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 5, 2013 12:30pm-2:31pm EST

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be treated ourselves. the lgbt community is made up of our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers and our families, and we all deserve the same rights. regardless of who we are, regardless of where we live in our great nation. that is what is truly exceptional about america. despite our challenges we remain the brightest beacon of freedom, opportunity and equality in the world. madam president, i have a great teal deal of pride in our nation and our people. i believe we can come together with one voice to say that discrimination is wrong. so let us here this week all stand together for a future without discrimination in the workplace. it will make america more productive, it will make us more wealthy but most important, it will ensure that we have removed that stigma of discrimination that puts fear into the hearts of american
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citizens unnecessarily. this is a huge, historic week that we are about to see unfold in our nation's capitol and i pray that we can pass this bill and send it over to the united states house of representatives so we can have this full debate in our nation for equality for every person who lives within our boundaries and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate elkvémmi
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this version which would be ban work place discrimination on basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, is the, 2007 was the last time it came up. and in either chamber. so that is why the legislation moving forward last night, on a 61-30 vote is a big deal even if it does face pretty dim prospects in the house. >> your headline in "politico" says the gay rights measure advances in the senate. you write about dynamics of vote on and off the floor. tell us about that. >> so we, it was always going to be a question which republican senators were going to con many come forward and help advance the bill. the legislation has two republican cosponsors, susan collins of maine and mark kirk of illinois who have been very vocal advocates for the legislation. there were two other republicans who had voted for it in committee and were expected to help push the bill along but at
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end of the day there was a lot of question marks on some of the republicans. in particular we're looking at rob portman in ohio throughout the day yesterday as well as kelly ayote of new hampshire and pat toomey of pennsylvania. during the vote there was fascinating behind the scenes lobbying effort on the senate floor as reporters were up in the gallery watching the votes and those three key republicans were huddling in the cloakroom with susan collins and jeff merkley, a democrat from oregon, who was the chief sponsor of the legislation and at one point chuck schumer, the number three democrat goes over there and working behind the scenes to try to secure the votes so they could at least move forward on the bill last night. >> in working to secure the votes, did senator toomey or any other republican senators get commitments for amendment votes? >> they did. so there is going to be, kelly ayote, rob portman secured a vote on their amendment that deals more with anti-retaliation
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issues for religious groups. they look at it as a way of strengthening protections for religious organizations in the employee non-discrimination act. senator toomey is going to have another religious-related amendment. it is going to broaden the number of groups that qualify under that religious exemption. senator merkley, who is kind of the bellwether for this, he is the chief sponsor. he says last night he support as proposal from ayote and portman. not so sure about toomey's. the fate of that legislation is, the fate of that measure still unclear, but they will get votes on both of them. >> will the senate vote on this bill before thanks giveing? >> that's the plan. senate majority leader harry reid said we're going to get this done. please, he said, the senators, he doesn't believe senators need to use all the time that's left on the clock for debate on this bill. it is set to, i mean after you vote on these couple amendment
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votes, it is set to pass in the coming days. we don't know exactly when. but the senate also has a lot of other agenda items to do as well. i think harry reid wants to move along and get that out of the way and do something else. >> you wrote about some of the rather bleak prospects in the house. you tweeted yesterday about senator harken saying that he wants the house democrats to circulate a discharge petition on the in the house. what does that mean? >> discharge petition, if you get 218 signatures on that, it pretty much force as bill to the house floor. obviously the house republican leadership control what bills come on the floor but not if a discharge petition successfully gets 218 votes. house democrats aren't for sure going to do that option yet but a spokesman for house minority leader nancy pelosi said quote, all options are on the table to push it through in the house. the house version has 193
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cosponsors including five republicans. a matter of finding additional signatures to get to that, that discharge petition if democrats choose to go that way, discharge petitions however, are pretty difficult especially for, you know, it would be difficult for republicans to sign one, kind of bucking their party's leadership on the bill. >> follow the reporting of seung min kim on the and twitter. >> thanks for having me. >> see debate on the measure continue when the senate returns this afternoon at 2:15 eastern here on c-span2. coming up shortly we go live to the white house for today's briefing with spokesman jay carney. it is set to begin shortly. we will have live coverage on c-span2. reminder today's voters are heading to the polls in virginia and new jersey to choose new governors. we'll have live coverage of the results tonight including victory and concession speeches starting at 9:00 eastern on
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c-span, c-span radio and while we wait for today's white house briefing its election stay as i said in new jersey and virginia. a quick look at the campaigns and elections from this morning a es "washington journal." >> host: thanks for joining us first and foremost. >> guest: thanks for having me. if you had to tell people about the two races if they don't live in virginia and new jersey, why or why not it is important to pay attention to them, what would you say? >> guest: the new jersey race is very important for one reason and one reason only. thatan is chris christie's national future. if he wins this election bit margin the polls show, that is a big, big feather in his cap as a potential republican presidential candidate who will be able to say, look i governed as a conservative in blue state. got reelected overwhelmingly. the virginia race is more complicated there is not a dominant personality involved.
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two candidates, democrat, terry mcauliffe, and ken cuccinelli very, very flawed in their own right. the reason why this is important race, we've seen over the last few years the state of virginia go from being a pretty solidly republican state in federal elections, prettany conservative state, even state elections to a real swing state and now maybe, what we could be seeing today is that virginia might even be leaning a a little bit to the democrats now. this is an off-year election. it was supposed to favor republicans. virginia has historically always elect ad governor from the opposite party that controls the white house. and if polling holds it seems like that trend is going to break tonight. >> host: alexander burns, talk about the virginia race, there is third candidate, independent candidate robert, sarvis. >> guest: he is running under the libertarian banner and out there trying to exploit
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essentially divisions on the right, or within the larger conservative coalition about social issues and saying that, you know he is open, i believe his tag line, is open-minded and open for business. so he has basically liberal views on abortion and gay rights unlike the republican ken cuccinelli. but he has pretty, you know, permissive views of how the state ought to treat the business community. >> host: alexanderat burns, in virginia, what is turn out expected to be and who does that favor? >> guest: both sides agree turnout will be north of two million people which is more than voted in the 2009 governors race but fewer than voted in the presidential election. it is an open question who will that favor. democrats feel very good about the operation they have built. they feel they put an awful lot of time and money into making sure that their core voters show up today. but republicans benefit from
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just, you know, as much as virginia may be changing as a state, - the people who tend toe most intense about voting do tend to be, somewhat more conservative, somewhatg whiter, some what are older electorate than presidential years. >> host: alexander burns, we saw high-profile people campaigning for both these gentlemen, specifically terry mcauliffe and ken cuccinelli these last few days. who are they and what does that tell you about the importance of others are t seeing in this rac? >> guest: on the republican side you hads parade of national surrogates, would-be presidential candidates like florida senator marco rubio and wisconsin governor scott walker. everybody except for chris christie who has his own race to deal with. on the democratic side you've had barack obama and joe biden in the last 48 hours. then the last few weeks you had bill and hillary clinton spending a lot of time in the race. they have been friendsd with terry mcauliffe for a very
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long time. it will be tempting for some people to say, this shows that the national democratic brand is stronger than the national republican brand and that may be true but the big impact of all those surrogate visits has been, just the overwhelming star power of the democratic side. republicans have a very, very strong bench when it comes to the 2016 presidential race. they have up and comers in the party. they don't have a lot of people that can go toe-to-toe with the sitting and former president of the united states. >> host: as it stand today, what does polling look like in virginia? >> guest: it sort of varies to some degree. it has been pretty consistent for months mcauliffe is leading. the leadsri vary from four poins in a quinnepiac poll to 12 points in a "washington post" poll. in private polling the race is probably closer to five to seven points than to 12 points but turnout issue that you mentioned is really key in that area. do republicans show up even
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though it seems like their candidate is struggling at this point? do democrats show up even though it seems like their candidate will be fine? >> host: alexander burns, before i let you go, talk about governor christie, if he wins re-election what does he face in the next term? >> guest: he has w a whole bunch of issues related to education, state teacher contracts. rebuilding the jersey shore, gay marriage, that were raised in his first term, fought out to somerm degree but not completely resolved. i think if we do view christie as someone who wants to be president or certainly could run for president in 2016 it will be really interesting to watch especially the first year of the second term before he gets sucked into the 2016 whirlpool. what he tries to prioritize to maintain the narrative he has from the first four years governing as conservative as reformer in a democratic state. >> host: barbara buono, is his
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challenger. anything to add to her chances. >> guest: we have to see what she says about the race after it is over. she has a candidate of haul martials of person democrats would ordinarily support. she is experienced legislator and a high-profile woman in a state that has not elect ad female democratic governor. she never got any support from the national party with the exception of the group emilys list. she can lay down some interesting straight talk once votes are cast. >> host: alexander burns, senior political reporter for "politico", talking about the new jersey and virginia governors races. , mr. burns, thank you. >> guest: thanks a lot. >> we will have complete coverage of the victory and concession speeches. vote something reported to be strong in virginia races and counties there.
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we'll have comments via facebook, twitter, on c-span, c-span radio and beginning 9:00 p.m. eastern. coming up shortly we'll go live to the white house for today's briefing with spokesman jay carney set to get underway in a few moments. live coverage here on c-span2 when it starts. until then a discussion on the gender politics and enda bill being debated in the senate this week from today's "washington journal." >> host: brian moulton of the human rights campaign. he is their policy and political affairs director. thanks for joining us. >> guest: thank you. connell: >> host: the vote enda. what does it mean. >> guest: it is a simple piece of legislation t would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal law prohibiting discrimination in employment along categories like race, sex, disability,
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et cetera. this is really important because unfortunately all the advances we've seen for lgbt people all of country in terms of marriage and other areas, employment discrimination is very much reality and still perfectly legal in many states, in fact, in 21 states to fire someone or deny them promotion because they're gay or in 33 states, there is no state law that protects people who are transgender in employment. still a very significant issue facing our community and there really need to be a national solution to it to address that problem. >> host: how many times has this kind of vote come up in the past? >> guest: the bill was considered once before in the senate, 17 years ago in 1996 where it failed by one vote. we saw a version of the bill pass through the house of representatives in 2007 but it didn't move any further than that. so we certainly have seen this issue in front of congress for some time now and we're very excited to see the progress we've had already in the senate this year.
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>> host: why the need for expansion of current law? >> guest: there is no law that prohibits discrimination on federal level clearly on sexual orientation and gender identity. as a result in many places in this country lgbt people are facing employment discrimination who they are and not based on what their merits are or how well they're doing their job or something really unrelated to any of that. and that is something that we need to change and we already have a great model for how to address that sort of unfair treatment in the work place, under federal law, for a thumb before other categories. this is natural extension of those protections. >> host: how many specific cases have you heard about that dealt with discrimination, especially on this topic? >> guest: we hear from people and members and members of the community frequently about experiencing work place discrimination and we've certainly see many cases come up in the courts where people have tried to argue under existing sex discrimination law, under federal sex discrimination law
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that they should be protected because of their sexual orientation. those cases unfortunately are not successful because courts say that is not what congress intended when they enacted that law. there aren't protections for sexual orientation under federal law. we know this is happening an people are seeking recourse. we know that in many cases courts simply just don't have the legal ability to help them. >> host: vote was taken yesterday. the bill advanced to a vote reportedly this week. we're here to talk about the law that was passed or bill that was passed yesterday. you can talk to our guest about it, brian moulton of the human rights campaign. here are the numbers. 202-585-3818 for republicans. 22-583-2002 for independents. we set aside a special line for lgbt viewers. 202-585-3883. the vote to advance the bill to
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a final vote. six republican senators signing on talk about the significance of that. >> guest: it is incredibly important for us to have a strong bipartisan vote on this bill because it's an issue that is, supported by people across party lines that has very large support among the public including among republicans. it really needs, we wanted to see a vote that reflected reality of what american people think about these important protections. that is they broadly support them. usually important for us in advancing this issue in the senate and as we look on to the house, and to the future of this legislation, to see it, supported across party lines. this really is not a question of party ideology. this is question of basic fundamental american values around fairness, around the golden rule and that is what we really saw reflected last night with that strong vote. >> host: speaker boehner said not to expect a similar vote in the houseguest guest yes. it is unfortunate the speaker decided already to speak out
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against considering the legislation. again because it is so strongly supported that is not reflecting where his constituents or the american people are broadly and frankly the bill deserves its consideration in both chambers. i think, given the opportunity you would see a lot of house republicans support this bill. when it was on the floor in the house in 2007, 35 members of the republican party voted to support passage and they should be given that opportunity again. >> host: the senate votes to advance the employment non-discrimination act, our topic for the first segment this morning. here is billy from miami, florida, on independent line for our guest brian moulton the guess from the human rights campaign. >> caller: brian, you do a fabulous job fighting. i am in miami i go back to the fiving anita bryant. how do we get lgbt. to lgbtq?
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nobody should discriminate against anything. you do a great job. i will listen off-line. have a great morning. >> guest: thank you very much. as the movement has progressed the way we try to be inclusive of everyone we're representing as changed a little bit. but at its core we really are talking about people who are facing unfair treatment in a host of different areas because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and those core issues, areas at the center of the protections in enda and many other pieces of legislation that we advocate for. regardless of sort of the acronym that is really what we're still working to advance. >> host: bruce, from baltimore, maryland, independent line. >> caller: i'm listening to this. let me say this, all my life i have always been against anybody who would treat anybody because they're different, whatever the sexual orientation i don't really care. doesn't bother me.
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i'm not offended by it. i worked with people that were gay or lesbian but doesn't bother me, but got ridiculous how far you guys have taken this. let me make a statement that is important about this. in baltimore there is a grocery store. i'm not going to mention it. when you sign up, when you sign a application it said that they could fire you at will for anything, means they could fire you for whatever your political views are, if some supervisor doesn't like you, they could fire you for anything. that is what has to be a addressed. this has gotten ridiculous. i don't think anybody should discriminate against anybody you about it got to the point now, they're just, they're nuts! >> guest: certainly we want to make sure that categories like sexual orientation and gender identity those aspects of who people are have nothing to do with the ability to do a job are not things that employers can consider when they're deciding whether to hire or fire or
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promote someone. even in a place like baltimore, your example about emememployment at will is the general rule, there is a statewide law in maryland that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. it has been there for many years and so employers have a lot of freedom to make decisions about who they choose to employ but not based on discriminatory reasons and in maryland, that include because of someone's sexual orientation. >> host: is gender identity first time it has been added to the bill? >> guest: this is first time added to the bill in last couple of congresses this is first time we've seen legislation go to the floor with gender identity. >> host: does it complicate the legislation? >> guest: it's a new addition. we've had it number of years. for some senators and members this is the first time they're voting on the issue. we had a lost very positive
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conversations educating about the discrimination, transgender people face in the work place. people get it and come along and certainly new language and new concept requires us to do, you know, more lobbying and more education and i think you see from the vote last night that that has been quite successful. >> host: when it comes to the idea of discrimination, how do you define that or how does it get defined? >> guest: the billion defines conditioning, terms or condition of employment or sexual orientation or gender identity and like title 7 in the ada make those conditions prohibit making those conditions based on other characteristics like race or disability. so, you know, obviously the classic examples are things like refusing someone a job or firing them, refusing to promote them, or you know treating them differently in the work place. certainly just like under title 7 of the ada if someone feels what their experience the burden
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is on them to prove that up in a case first through the administrative process with the equal employment opportunity commission and potentially in court, so certainly is not an easy path but it is recourse for perceived discrimination and we want to make sure that lgbt people have that -- >> host: i was going to add, how does that get proven? how do you prove something like that? >> guest: you have to present evidence that you have, your work place experience has been different because of your, one of those characteristics and, in many cases unfortunately we still have employers who are very much willing to put it in writing or in clear language with coworkers that the reason an individual is, not being hired is being fired, being transferred to that, less advantageous position is because they are lgbt and that is still happening and right now in many places even if that does happen that person really has no
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recourse under law guest guest -- >> host: is there any profession under the eeoc then? >> guest: eeco advanced idea that title 7 sexual discrimination prohibition does in many cases cover transgender people. that's a great step. we've seen some federal courts also take that position but we don't yet have a comprehensive and clear protection for transgender people in all cases, under title 7, that is another reason we very much need clarity in the law and that brings us that. >> host: line for lgbt viewers, 202-583-5883. here is john from north carolina. john, go ahead please. john, are you there? good morning. one more time for john from greensboro, north carolina. let's move on to keith. keith is from palm bay, florida. hello. >> caller: hello, good morning, guys. you know i never really
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understood these laws. they seem more of a feel good thing. when it cops to business i don't understand why businesses would discriminate bense anybody because it's, it hurts their business. and sales are hiring people or anything but since they are a private-owned business i don't see what's wrong with that. what i don't understand about gay people or anybody else that works for somebody, if the people you're working for don't like you, why do you want to be there anyway? if you're working in a place that sets you up for failure, i don't understand, when you're getting into a career you want to love what you do and love where you work. why would you want to work for somebody that is going to discriminate against you? >> guest: you know, i think it is a very good question. i mean, the reason, you know, we have laws, you know, and existing laws like title vii that has been there since 1964
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because we collectively decided as a matter of public policy that there are certain characteristics of individuals, in many case that is have historically subjected them to discrimination in a range of different areas. those should not be permissible reasons, even in private business, to make employment decisions that really, at its core, this bill and those laws before it are about the golden rule and about treating people as you would want to be treated including in employment. to your point why would a gay or transgender person work, want to work in an environment where there was hostility against them? i certainly can't imagine those individuals do want to do that but you have to consider, you know, people who work for perhaps in a smaller town or in a particular industry where their opportunities for employment are limited, or the right job for them to advance in a career is at a certain organization in a certain position and, they should have
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the equal opportunity to advance just like any of their other coworkers without regard to something that has nothing to do with their ability to do that job. >> host: democrats line, lgbt viewer, charlie from new jersey. charlie, good morning. >> caller: good morning. my name is charlie. i'm a transgendered person and being a transgendered person is very difficult position to be in. you need to work. there is question, why would you work there? well, you need to eat. we need to eat too. we're humans. and as a human, needing to eat, i have to go to work. now when i go to work and my fingernails change color and i start painting them and i start on hormone replacement therapy and my breasts start to grow and my face starts to soften and electrolysis and my beard disappears become as woman. if i want employment as a woman when i started people would see me as a woman. but since i'm changing, suddenly it throws me into a position
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where i'm extremely vulnerable. so some of the largest companies have antidiscrimination policies. they look after us and make sure that, if you go to your, to the head person and you talk to them. my first employer was gay and. . .
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in our community. just simply trying to be who they are and true to themselves as they present in the workplace and i sure charley qualifications for her job didn't suddenly change when she began to transition and that really is why this legislation is so important. i just want to touch on another point that she raised which is it has become increasingly the standard practice in corporate america particularly among large companies because they view it as the right way to maintain the best employees and almost 900% of the fortune 500 companies in their policies and about 60% but also include gender identity. so this is already a practice in a lot of major corporations in this country and they've been very successful in implementing those and people are not so lucky to work at those companies but many other places in the
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country have the same sort of protections. >> host: the speaker said that -- the spokesperson said the speaker believes the legislation would increase frivolous litigation, cost american jobs, especially small business jobs. heritage action for america put out a statement saying the bill would impose liabilities for the alleged discrimination based on subjective disclose the identities and not on trade that wouldn't protect equal the under the law would create special privileges enforceable against private actors. >> guest: the act of frivolous litigation isn't borne out of the -- >> all of today's washington journal available in our video library. we take you live to the white house for the briefing with jay carney. >> good afternoon everyone. thanks for being here at the white house briefing.
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i do not have any doubts months to make at the top so we can go straight to questions. >> democrats and republicans on the hill are proposing legislation and what make good on the president's promise that any one that likes their health care coverage can keep it [inaudible] senator landrieu has a proposal. i wonder how -- is their anything with that idea, with the president support that? >> here's what i would say, jim. we're focused on implementing the affordable care act and fixing the problems that have caused a lot of americans consternation when they are dealing with the website, and we are making sure that millions of americans that are looking for information about their health care options are able to get it and that they are able to register and enroll. when it comes to that provision
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in all that grandfathered plans that existed before the affordable care act was passed, that is obviously what the president was referring to. he was also referring to the general principle and promise of the affordable care act which is if you are one of the 80% of americans who is ensured or covered through an employer plan or through medicare or medicaid, or the veterans administration there is no change for you accept an increase in benefits that everyone receives as a result of the affordable care act. they're one of americans who are uninsured whose only recourse for health care is the emergency room. then you have nothing but better options because you have available to you potentially
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free or very affordable health coverage or affordable options that did not exist for you before. if you are one of those americans that makes up only 5% of the population who currently receive, get coverage of some kind in the individual market and have a plan before law passed that hasn't been changed by your insurance company or canceled by your insurance company, downgraded by your insurance company you can keep it. it's written into law. it was explained by secretaries sebelius when the rule associated with that was published in 2010. however, if you are in the individual market and your insurance company changed your plan, downgraded debt your insurance has to meet the basic standards set by the affordable care act. what our job is and the failure
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of the website to function effectively has made this job more difficult as to make sure those americans, that portion of the 5% of the population are getting the information they need to avail themselves half of them tax credits that will make the insurance cheaper than it otherwise would be in all situations for them the insurance they have available for them is better, more quality coverage than what they are getting now. the president said in boston and again last night there would be portion of them, a portion of those individuals who will pay higher premiums at least in the front end. we are focused on of these aspects of getting this implementation on track so that americans across the country are able to get the benefits of the affordable care act promises.
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>> those percentages represent billions of people who are getting these notifications. besio companies today take issue with that presumably because they are not providing enough information to the customer's putative so clearly this is in the forefront of the white house. why wouldn't the legislation that is proposed that would simply expand in one case expand it to 2014. i think that is the house republican proposal that whatever your plan is, you can keep it. >> i haven't reviewed or seen an examination internally on any ideas people have put out about legislation so i don't have a response to the specific proposed piece of legislation.
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i think the broad principle is if you are going to assert that insurance companies can continue to offer sub standard plants, a bad apple plans for example that do not provide hospitalization or how car walz that exempt from coverage the chronic condition that you may have often in a way that the purchasers of this insurance don't even know, that undermines the fundamental promise of the affordable care act which is everyone in america should have access to affordable quality health care coverage. but that isn't any specific idea that people are bandying about on the hill. i think that is the explanation for the broad approach which is windel law was being written and the provision that the president insisted would be part of the affordable care act that allowed for the grandfathering in of
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existing plans on the individual market so that if you have that plan and you want to keep it even though it was substandard, you could. you couldn't apply that hypothetically to plans that couldn't exist because basically you would be undermining the central promise of the affordable care act which is a sort of bottom baseline of coverage that everyone should enjoy which means mental health services are prevented, preventive services, there are no annual or lifetime caps. there are all sorts of benefits that are basic to every plan offered under the affordable care act. you can't be charged double if you are a woman which is something that insurance companies regularly did because they could. it's important that as we have this discussion that we remember that the status quo here, the rule back to which many critics
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want us to go is the world in which insurers have that power to say that your relative that has a pre-existing condition either has no chance of getting coverage or is going to be charged so much that he or she cannot afford it. so, the whole that is important to look at is as we talk about slices, the whole is based on a principle that there ought to be affordable quality health care coverage available to every american. >> by the anecdotal evidence and its ample evidence. >> there is no question the notices are going out and it is troubled by the fact that the website has made it a lot more difficult for those americans to get the information that they need so that they can know for example that they qualify for tax credits that will reduce cost for them. they can get the details on the insurance plans that they have.
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they are better than on the options of the current plan. they can find out if they qualify for medicaid. millions of these individuals are estimated to be qualified for medicaid because of the medicaid expansion provision within the affordable care act so that is a significant number of those currently on the individual market. so, she is frustrated by that and we are committed to doing a better job getting that information to the american people who deserve its. there is no question about that when it comes to some of these anecdotes that we discussed turn out to be different upon closer inspection in part because of the problems i described the the individuals aren't getting the information they need. they often don't know what the future looks like for them. so, for example, the very sensational report last week
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that focused on a woman from florida and her existing insurance coverage to keep that plan. a little reporting that the coverage she had was so-called junk coverage. there was no coverage at all from financial ruin if you got sick. it didn't even cover hospital visits. so, it's important and this is also on us. americans who are affected by this portion of the 5% of the population that are affected by get information about their options so that they can make choices they haven't been able to make before and they can better understand the coverage they are granted is superior, they may qualify for tax credits
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that reduce the cost of their coverage. most of them will pay the same or less for better coverage. this is all important and why we are working everyday to get that information to the americans who need that. >> they said they are working on a plan to reach out to people who have had their plans. >> we are working on it. i was not able to watch all of her testimony, so i'm not sure of all of the specific things she said. i think she's referring to the general effort underway to make sure that everyone out there who needs this information is getting at. the marketplace is are set up for that universe of people who don't get insurance currently thrown employers or through medicare or medicaid and who may be eligible now because of those states that accepted it and who
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are uninsured but now have a possibility of getting quality affordable insurance through the marketplace. so i don't have a specific plan to describe to you beyond the imperative that we get that information to everyone who needs it. >> i would refer you to cms. they may have more detail on the testimony but it's part of an overall effort to fix the website to make sure that these other options that the american people are aware of the options through the in person consultations or through the call in senator or they can also apply by mail as you know and they can go on the web site now. there are folks that may have experienced difficulties in the early days after the launch who
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will find why lit was still below where we needed to be in terms of functionality it's better than it was and they are able to access to important information about plan options available to them. so this is an all hands on deck effort to make sure that americans who need this information are getting it. >> [inaudible] >> i meant to get into this in response to jim's question. white house chief of staff dennis mcdonald met with a group of the nation's largest health insurers to discuss the ongoing efforts to improve so that it works as effectively as possible for consumers and participating insurance companies. during the meeting, he updated the issuer's on the progress the team is making to fix issues with 834 and direct enrollment
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to the top priorities. i think most people now know what 834 refers to. he reiterated the commitment to finalizing the fixes as quickly as possible and work to open new doors to enrollment. he asked for input from the attending insurers on how the fixes have affected their enrollment experience on the ground triet he highlighted new survey data showing there is interest among young americans and purchasing affordable health insurance many of whom will have access to a range of options at a competitive price and finally he emphasized the need for all involved in the marketplace including the administration issuers and other stakeholders with federal and private to ramp up communication and education efforts to consumers who have received or might receive letters about their individual market plans changing and that goes to what we were talking about before. we need to ensure that those --
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that portion of the 5% that might be getting these letters are made aware that they have a broader array of options available to them. the letters are different for each issuer and may include an effort by the insurer to understandably retain the business of the individual and might point out the options that insurer has but would not necessarily include information about whether that individual is qualified to receive a tax credit which could reduce significantly the premium that he or she might pay. the might not include information about plans the competitors are offering state after state there are more plans available and there is more competition. we need to get that information to the american people.
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>> [inaudible] >> no, he is saying that we all need to do the best we can in getting information to consumers need. it's in their interest to make it clear to the customers that they have offerings for them that meet the standards of the affordable care act and also that they need be eligible for credit. i'm not suggesting private insurance companies market their competitors' plans. there is one of the obvious benefits for the insurers of the affordable care act is the increase of a number of people purchasing insurance that they will bring about and there is an interest by the insurers making sure they compete for that business and that is a good thing. it helps keep prices manageable. we've seen since the passage of the affordable care at the lowest rate for three straight
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years that we've seen in 50 years and i would remind folks that the promise of the portable character in the legislative process assured the country that growth rates that were already huge in the health care market would explode as a result of the passage of the affordable care act but the opposite has happened and that has been a good thing so if you are a company out there that was projecting costs five years ago based on the expected rate of growth in the health care cost overall, you have welcomed the news of the cost has come and lower-than-expected because that affects the bottom line of everybody in putting the federal government's bottomline because when the cost of health care goes down or the rate of growth slows, that saves the taxpayers money and saves the government money. >> the president said if you have one of these plans for the
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affordable care act what we said was you could keep it if it hasn't changed since dell law was passed today that isn't what the president said repeatedly over and over again in selling this plan to the american people. how does the president account for that and why is he getting these caveat that he didn't issue to the american people years ago and why does the president just admit that he misspoke or be more complete in his comments at that time. >> i just want to be clear that the president was referring to the law and the fact that it was written in a way that everybody was closely covered and they knew what it was written about when the grandfathering clause was in the law and he was referring to the implementation through the rules process when it was issued secretary sebelius and others spoke to the press about it specifically about the
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fact that not everybody -- if insurance companies change their plans were canceled their plans and they would give up the opportunity to grandfather those plans and june of 2010. there was a fair amount of coverage in the major newspapers. so, i didn't say he did. he was referring to the administration. the provision in the affordable care act was the manifestation of the president's promise that a few have a plan and you like, you can keep it but he doesn't say if your insurance company cancels your plan and gives you something else that's worse you can keep it. he says if you have a plan you like you can keep that. >> that pledge he made over and over again if you like your plan you can keep its. as he now acknowledge that was a mistake and he shouldn't have said that?
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>> do you know whether or not -- >> it's a little more complicated than that. i can tell you the president was making a statement about -- give me a chance. i will let you ask other questions i promise. the president was making a statement about the overall affordable care act. 80% of the country is covered by their employers, medicare, medicaid or the va. the only changes for them are positive ones come increased benefits because of the affordable care act. 15% of the country, on injured now has access to affordable care that they did not have before. 5% is on the individual market and of that 5% if you have a plan and your insurance company didn't cancel it, you can keep that. i acknowledge that we need to as i just said make sure that folks who fallen at 5% and had their plans canceled by their insurers
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in the past three years the need to do a better job getting information to them so they know what their options are and they know that without question they will have higher quality insurance. >> they will have a possibility of qualifying for credit or reduce the cost of their insurance that's better insurance they get. don't forget as a was said on sunday the president didn't mean to keep that promise then why was it written into the law? the fundamental issue is the promise of affordable quality health insurance for every american to have access to it. >> of the president would go back he would use the same words again? >> as often and powerful we
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can't go back and comment. we know what the president is focused on is what we are all focused on which is getting this right for the american people and getting it right for everyone so that the benefits of the affordable care act, the improvements in the coverage that everyone will enjoy and the broad benefits for our economy for the slower rate of health care costs, about and come into being. there is no question that this rollout hasn't gone as smoothly as we had hoped and there is no question that the website has caused a lot of problems for americans trying to get information about the options available to them because of the market places and it's a reality that because the market places are designed for a segment of the population that the segment of that segment that are finding now that their insurance plans
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are substandard and don't -- have been changed since 2010 and don't meet the minimum requirements of the affordable care act that existing coverage is discontinued on december 31st. we have to make sure they are getting the information they need so they can enjoy the benefits better coverage, tax credits, minimum benefits including the provision of care that will have a positive effect for all of us so even the folks the president talked about both last night in boston who will initially pay higher premiums to as a long return benefit here to them and to the broad market when they are receiving preventive care they are receiving some of the benefits that are minimally required because that goes to their long-term better health and forestalls more extensive care in the future. >> the president meant to keep
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this promise -- words are words the president -- [inaudible] >> the president was speaking specifically about a broad promise of the affordable care act and there is no question that a portion of the 5% who currently participate in the individual market that some of them are finding out because the insurance company pulled the rug out from under them they are not grandfathered then. the promise, and it's written into law and it was specifically spelled out in the rule that was an issue as a result of the law and i continue to the stories written about it is that the insurers, if they can solve your plan they couldn't come back and say i canceled the plan to qualify for grand offering and i'm going to give you something even worse and then say the affordable care act made me do
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it. that's not what happens because every insurer that offered a plan on the individual market prior to the passage of the law could have maintained that plan and could have continued to offer that plan and as long as it wasn't significantly, you could grandfather in. for some individuals that enjoy that benefit they may still look at the options available to them in the marketplace and find that they would rather have better coverage than what their current plan offers. but the fact is we were able to write into law the existing plans. there are those who -- >> was written into the law but has the president expressed to you or anybody in this white house that maybe you should come out and say -- >> i can give you the answer i gave you which is the president spoke about the broad promise here, he spoke about the absolute need to make sure that quality affordable health care is available to all.
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the fact that the provision of the manifestation of the insurance that if you have a plan you want to keep you can keep it, insurance companies that chose to strip away benefits from plants in the interim that canceled existing plans, they took away that grandfathering opportunity and that is a reality. and it is on us. let me be clear i am embracing the responsibility that the administration has and that everyone involved in the marketplace has to make sure those individuals are getting what they need and finding what their options are and that it's made clear to them as i think was now made clear to that woman in florida her options are far superior to her existing circumstances. others will get tax credits in the system and paying their premiums to be all of them will get better coverage than under
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the existing individual markets which as i said in the past is like the wild west. and those who insist we need to try over the years to repeal the affordable care act and we ought to go back to that status quo where the insurance companies control what kind of coverage you would get, what kind of conditions they would cover. they would place arbitrary annual limits on what they would spend for your health care, annual and lifetime to make all of that has changed for the better. >> starting in december when the website takes a big push to get people to sign up i guess there is no point if they can't access at. >> that is a good question.
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the answer is yes caribou there has been a big push and all along it is part of the education process that is letting young americans know that these options are available to them and again, i think i cited this when talking about the meeting within jurors they get out there and they show that young folks are interested in purchasing affordable insurance, which sort of busts one of the myths out there that young people are not actually interested in buying affordable insurance. so it's our job to make sure everybody that's part of this effort that everything they need is available to them. as i said before and i try to say all along is the fact the web site is not functioning as well as it should doesn't mean it isn't functioning at all. there are people you can get information on it, you can sign up and enroll but there are too many problems, too many glitches and until that is resolved we
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will have challenges associated with the website. but the effort overall continues and you are absolutely right that making sure young people know what options are available to them is key to the affordable care act. >> everybody always expected it but there are reports that the initial enrollment is more than the insurers thought it would be so they are getting even less people than they thought they would get and much less than they need to make the whole system work. >> it's not that the percentages are skewed as far as we are to read some of the estimates were based on the medicare part d which was a benefit directed at older people alone and not younger people and what massachusetts tells us the more
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direct analogous experience tells us young people come in very late. those who in massachusetts qualified for medicaid coverage or other kinds of coverage that did not require the payment of a premium came in fairly large numbers right away. premium paying customers didn't come until late as we cited in the past and only 123 folks came in massachusetts and the first month. for those of us who either have kids or some of you are young enough to remember when you were like at that age, it has always been the expectation in the case that the younger americans will wait until the last minute when they make a decision and apply and enroll. so that was our expectation that there would be the case and we tried to telegraph that in general about enrollment and the crescendo that we expect. there's no question that the problems on the web site have exacerbated the trend, which is
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why we have to work all the harder to make sure that it gets up and running and that we do everything we can to make sure that folks are applying and enrolling. >> in the opening statements in the hearing today, barbara mikulski a supporter of the health care law said that she believes it is facing a crisis because of the website, because of cancellation notices and she even mentioned the sticker shock if you look at the difference between what they had and the new premiums. do you believe that she is onto something. it does this come from the crisis of confidence? >> we share senator mikulski's frustration with the problems that we have seen in the rollout which have been focused on the
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problems of the website. >> [inaudible] >> some of these other problems are exacerbated by the fundamental problem with the website for example when you get a letter received a letter but you haven't been able to go on line and you didn't know that you could call and find out to get information about what plans are available to you and all you know is perhaps what your insurance companies told you which is just the premium cost of alternative without any information about whether you qualify for a subsidy it may come as concerning news to you because that is all you know at this point is you may well coiffed high -- call qualify in the past and the would be welcomed news for roughly a million of those americans.
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so, there is no question -- [inaudible] >> look, we are focused on getting these things right. and the fact that they haven't been light -- and it stems from the website has caused, obviously concern here and that's why we have dedicated the resources we have dedicated to fixing the website and improving the communication and education effort so that people understand that when they see a report about someone who got a letter and is now told or believes in the report that he or she is going to pay twice or three times as much as they paid in the past but they don't hear the plan the use to have this terrible and didn't cover them and offered them no financial security and they don't hear those letters are only being sent to a very small fraction of the population that it doesn't affect your review of medicare or medicaid or if you are covered by your employer it
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creates alarm. we are making sure that we address this problem in the communication of the options to those americans who need to know what their options are. >> let me ask a philosophical question about. is it possible and does the white house understand how someone in the insurance market and the individual market can say you know what the white house may believe i have a crappy insurance policy, but i like it and because i have an orientation towards liberty or individual personal choice, i would like to keep it or i think i know as much if not more about my own needs and my own insurance coverage as the white house and i may actually not be comfortable with the administration telling me i have a copy entrance policy and they know more about my health care needs than i do. >> i would say a couple things. the fundamental philosophical
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question is the one that was debated when health insurance reform was debated. not just that obamacare was tasked but every time the health reform has been discussed in the legislative and the contras had attempted to pass it over a century. so when it comes to should there be a minimum benefit standards that is obviously the president's view, the administration's view and that was foundational to with the comfortable care act provides. it was with the battle in congress was about and it is a law that passed and the president signed into the supreme court upheld and was a focus of the election of 2012 with a person that is most closely associated with the law. but obviously that didn't mean that once that was one orville law was passed about all opposition to it would cease to exist. it is also a philosophical opposition to war in the illogical opposition to the idea
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that there should be minimum standards of insurance. i mean, it's not entirely different to somebody that is supposed to wearing a helmet in a state where there is a helmet law for motorcyclists. you can be opposed to it and think that it's wrong and its government overreach, but the legislative body that passed the law disagreed and has been elected and was appointed and the basic car insurance that is a requirement in state after state there may be individuals that say you know what my perception of personal liberty says i may say driver and i shouldn't have to buy insurance. well, the decision is made by there is a difference between not wearing a helmet and never buying insurance and having insurance that you actually started out. >> if that person had that
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policy and it was grandfathered in, that person for philosophical, is the logical or other kind of reasons me just keep it even if other options are available to him or her. but the broad argument whether there should be baseline standards for insurance company is one that goes to the heart at the beginning and obviously the president feels there ought to be, he feels very strongly and a lot of people feel very strongly that insurance company take advantage of and have taken advantage of years individuals in this market who have so little recourse by charging women double. my guess is the person is not a woman because the company has taken advantage of me and by gender for years or decades devotee and opposition to take but if she had that policy for 2010 and wanted to pay double for worse coverage, she could. but it is absolutely the case
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the president believes they're ought to be minimum standards of coverage. and that philosophical and is the logical debate was engaged. i'm sure it won't go away because i'm sure the house at least a couple more dozen times to read some of the language from this is very important. we were told that the website would be fully operational for most users by the end of november. yesterday that was amended and would be vastly improved by the end of november. i would like for you as best as you are able to set the benchmark the president has set for what this website will be in terms of its functionality and feasibility -- i think the point the president and others made is precisely what we believe and what jeff and those of us who are on the ground addressing the problems and getting them fixed is by the end of november the
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site will function and effectively for the vast majority of the american people who use eight. we can't say that nobody will experience a glitch never again in coming november 1st. >> [inaudible] speed i didn't listen to the call and you can ask them for a clarification. my understanding is -- >> there were to blue cross consumers who don't believe an insurance company. is that a legitimate grievance this administration believes on the cancellation notices that have gone out and was that something directly that was brought up? >> i was in a meeting that dennis had on the specific conversations than what i just
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provided earlier. and i am not aware of a lawsuit and wouldn't comment if i were. but it is in every that these interest here that americans in this market to get all of the information that they deserve about their options. so, we are working with every interested party to make sure they get that in for a nation. i don't know the specific cases but -- >> is the administration concerned that insurance companies are not being clear enough with consumers? >> i don't have that specific concern to report. what is definitely the case is a lot of americans that have gotten the letters it is a slice of 5% of the population that has gotten these letters. we are not aware of their options and again, we accept responsibility for a portion of that because the website wasn't working and the easiest way that they knew about is finding out
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more information was filled with obstacles because of a poorly functioning web site. now part of our effort has been to provide other avenues for these americans to get information for the call in the centers and a information centers and downloading an application and sending it by mail and we have improved the website so that they can get more information from the website but, so what i said at the top remains the fact that a lot of the americans are not getting the information they need and they may therefore be concerned about what options they have is partly on us at least and we accept that responsibility and we are working to fix it to estimate the administration has had some progress and the president had to digest all of the fact. any new thoughts about a different type of approach to security having to the facts of
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this case see any demonstration of this in the near term? >> i haven't had a discussion with him about this related to the broad need for common sense measures to reduce gun violence, which remain an objective of his. when it comes to how the tsa operates it is my understanding that the tsa is their working every day to ensure that passengers are safe on their flights and that airports have the security provided below wall enforcement. but i haven't been part of discussions. maybe the dhs or the tsa can fill you in on that. i know what the president believes is the tsa employee who was killed was serving his country and making americans
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safer and those that fly in and out of american airports saver and his family deserves prayers because of his sacrifice. >> senate, 5%, a fraction of those people are going to have to pay more. it may be a better policy that they have to pay more. but with the president's message be to somebody that pays $1,600 a year and now has to pay $2,000 a year out of their pocket? ..
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to qualify for either medicaid or the tax credit, and they're getting substantially better coverage. than they currently have. and the cost on the front end will be higher for that portion that might be paying higher premiums. again, a slice of a slice of 5%, but the overall cost for them will potentially be lower because they have better coverage which will improve their health outcomes and potentially reduce their overall health coverage. i'm not sure what it is -- >> if you have your insurance and you like it -- >> hold on.
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you're confusing two things. the president never said that somebody who goes without insurance but can afford it would be paying less or the same, i.e. nothing. if you are somebody who you are 30 and young and maybe are making decent money but you just decided not to buy insurance, you are not required to buy insurance. so obviously unless you qualify for medicaid even if you're paying 50 bucks a month, a lot of young americans will pay that little, you will be paying more. so he never said that everybody would pay less. if you're saying that's what he said, i don't think you can find that. >> you said these insurance companies have stripped these out. insurance companies were offering some coverage to these individuals who found that that was what they want. >> they found that's what all the ahead. ahead. >> that's what they wanted. a woman who doesn't want children doesn't have to have maternity. now she has to have it. she couldn't keep the policy
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that she has and she likes. >> david, this goes to the discussion i just had. we absolutely accept the charge that we believe there ought to be minimum standards of coverage, preventive services, mental health services, maternity care. a ban -- old on. it's not just, there isn't a plan out there that a female american searches on the individual market that doesn't, that meets all of the minimum standards except for not applying maternity care. you know that doesn't exist. these plans overwhelmingly have carveouts, they have caps, they don't cover hospitalization. this is not, this is an area of the market that is not one that we want to emulate or expand if we want to improve health care and health outcomes in this country. so going back to my basic point, yes, we believe in the affordable care act makes law that there should be minimum
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standards for basic health care coverage, health insurance coverage. and if you had a plan that did not meet those minimum standards and your insurance company hasn't downgraded it in the and rome, you can keep it. it's grandfathered in forever, if you want to keep it. and choose not to avail yourself of other options and a better coverage. but look, i think it's worth studying if you're going to do reporting on individual markets reporting what we're talking about here. one of the reasons why the area of the insurance market such as billy needed reform is because it was the area where insurers could so easily take advantage of consumers. because consumers had so few options. they had chronic preexisting condition. they had, you know, maybe one carrier in their area that could offer them coverage. they did not have the options
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that are now available to them through the affordable care act. >> you said there is great interest among the young americans with this new survey data. whose baby is that? what is the data? >> yes, public, let's see if i can find it here. i have a lot of tabs here under health care. shockingly. well, there is -- the kaiser report. commonwealth fund i think -- we'll get it for you. i've got a lot -- >> -- [inaudible] spent this is outside nongovernmental projection, not ours. >> j., obviously the words the president said 30 years ago have been picked over many times but what about what is it just over a month ago, september 26 in
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maryland he had an event right before the actual vote. one of the things he said was quote if you already have health care you don't have to do anything. you can only say that was not true, right? >> icoi, as i said last week, except that, you know, communications are challenging here. the president -- you have to remember that the affordable care act -- >> that's not true. >> look, i've addressed this question repeatedly. what i -- >> anticipate -- kick people off all the time. we knew that even before the affordable care act kicked him. so how did that get in the president's remarks? nobody at the white house knew that, in fact, if you have health care there could be changes in? >> the president was referring to the broader promise of the affordable care act, that if you on medicare or medicaid, if you like probably most people in this room have insurance through your employer, if you're a veteran and to get coverage
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through the va, you don't have to do anything. now, and the proof of that obviously is, if you're uninsured you know have available to you options to purchase insurance that you never had before. and if you don't qualify for medicaid but you might qualify for subsidy, you have to look at options and make your choices. but look, our focus is on implement in the law and getting these benefits to the american people. >> is communicating with the american people about this plan or you have that plan, how you deal with it. here's the president of the united states a few days before the actual launch saying something that just wasn't true, right? >> look, i except i'm not going to argue with you, that there's a lot of focus on a slice of 5% of the population, and part of
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that focus and the consternation that's been caused by the letters that have gone out is due to the failures of the website that have meant it's harder for these individuals to find out and be reassured by the fact that they have options for indisputably better coverage, and in many cases, most cases, coverage is better for the same cost or less. so that's on us and i except that spent you keep saying it's only 5% and earlier you said i understand there were mistakes on the website, we owned that, et cetera, et cetera. isn't it about -- it's been said his credibility with the american people, even if it's only involving 5% of the american people, it's still millions of people. doesn't his credibility matter of? >> again, it's a portion of the fight%, for precision say. what i can tell you is -- 5%. the president campaigned, argued
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for, signed into law the affordable care act. what he is focused on when it comes to what he believes is right for the american people, what he ran on, when he ran for reelection on is on health insurance reform that sentiment and standards of coverage, that allow for access for every american to quality, affordable health coverage, and reform that when fully implemented will reduce our deficit significantly over the long term, and will live up to its promise of reducing overall costs. and we've seen that already in, again, the opposite has happened to what critics at the time said would happen. it kind of reminds me of critics in 1993 swearing that clinton economic plan would bring about economic ruin and, in fact, what happened after that was the largest peacetime expansion ever. and substantial economic growth
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and job creation. funny come to go back and ask republicans to make those claims they don't want to talk about what actually happened. but what is i to happen here is that health care costs have slowed to the slowest rate of growth in half a century. that's a significant thing for something that such a big part of our economy, for employers, for employers, for the government this is a big deal. you know, affordable care act is part of the reason why that's happening. the president is focused on living up to the promises he made as ensuring that that affordable health care coverage, that quality health care coverage is available to americans across the country. peter. i promise i will move back after this. >> cms, marilyn tavenner soviet administration were least the aca numbers sometime next week. personal do know when that will be specifically? >> i don't have a date. we said mid-november so i would refer to her and the cms.
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>> will the first numbers be released? >> no. the president is updated regulate. the point we've made is we want to make sure we're providing the most i could be available and because the ways in which the date is coming in and because of some the problems with the website that have affected the collection of accurate data, mid-november is when we will have quality data available for public release. >> noting have a lot of different hats by want to try to get two additional one quickly. the president during today's event that the pool wasn't able to go to but we could watch remotely noticed he was watching the bears-packers game last night. we know he's a bear -- diehard fan. a player from the miami dolphins was suspended indefinitely for bullying one of his teammates on the offensive line. this white house has been strong advocates in opposition of
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bullying and i think was march of 2011 the president first lady even help a bullying prevention conference or at the white house. as the president aware of events that took place within the miami dolphins organization? does he have any opinion about bullying to that event? bullying is just a harmless rite of passage. >> the president strongly believes that, as do the first lady and the vice president and dr. biden. i think all of them participated in the anti-bullying effort that the administration was involved in. i have not had a conversation with the president about his story involving the miami dolphins so i can't report to you his thoughts on that. i'm confident he's aware of it but i don't have a response from the president on it. >> quick question. david sanger has a new times today, he says the white house is considering changes to intelligence policy,
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specifically holding the white house reviews of foreign leaders, monitoring a closer intelligence agreement with germany, angela merkel as someone who's been monitored, and treating citizens of close allies as if they were u.s. persons. is that something -- is the story correct that something you're considering that something that is a response that you guys are planning on? >> the story is correct in that it reflects the flag -- the fact that it is an ongoing review initiated by the president run by the white house country with ongoing reviews done by the bodies we mentioned in the past. beyond saying that the review has as a special focus matters involving intelligence collection and heads of state
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and allies and friends, i don't have any updates to give you on what's being considered or what has been ruled in or out. we will have more information for you on the review when it's conclude at the end of the year, and in keeping with what has been an unprecedented level of the classification when it comes to nsa activities we will endeavor to provide as much information as we can, understand the very thing where talk about your involved in intelligence gathering and, therefore, necessarily need to be protected. you know, we've spoken openly about addressing the concerns that some of these revelations have raised among our allies directly with our allies. i read out the phone call the president had with chancellor merkel in which it was discussed and he offered her reassurances. we've made clear this has been a
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point of discussion between the president and other leaders, as well as obviously with government-to-government diplomatic communications, and those conditions continued to beyond that i don't have anything specifically to say about that article except that it does reflect that this review is underway and that it is looking at these very matters. [inaudible] something the president is following come is that something the president or other senior administration officials are taking up with egypt or is that a matter that you have hands off, let them handle the? it? >> the president is closely following events in egypt, and secretary kerry was recently in cairo to reiterate u.s. support for the egyptian people and their transition to democracy and to discuss the way forward with the interim government.
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now, the interim government that replaced morsi had the support of millions of egyptians as we all know, who believe the revolution had taken a wrong turn. but the interim government also has made decisions inconsistinconsist ent with inclusive democracy and we appointed those out. so this is an ongoing priority in the foreign policy realm for the president, the secretary for national city advisor and others. you know, we have made clear when it comes to the, you know, our view on the need, we made clear that the united states believes that there has to be an end to politicize arrests and detentions. we will continue to make that call, and we continue to look to the government of egypt to make sure that egyptians are afforded due process, transparent trials and that civilians are tried in civilian court. so you know, egypt is something that remains a high priority
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issue for all the national security principals. april? >> when you asked the president about the issue, could you find out, does he separate bullying for children versus untold bullying? or is it all the same? >> i'm not sure i said is going to go talk to him about the miami dolphins report, but, you know, the president spoke -- that was very clever. [laughter] the president, i would certain point you to what the president saihas said and others have said about bullying in the past. i don't have any insight to provide to you about his views on this report, and i'm not sure that i will have that for you. but if i do i will let you know. spent what are the white house thoughts today on the election, is affordable care act up for discussion for people of the polls possibly? what about also the back and forth between both sides --
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particularly republicans and democrats? also, is the shutdown up for discussion for a lot of these other? >> i prefer to wait for the results before we analyze them. i think that, yeah, i think a couple of things about sort of the general discussion which is that they shut down, we learned again today with another report on consumer confidence that dropped her medical in october, in fact the lowest in the report since 2008, that the shutdown was basically a willful, deliberate action taken by some in congress to do harm to the economy and harm to the middle class. a wholly unnecessary decision for ideological reasons, principally at least initially out of ideological opposition to a law that provides affordable health insurance to millions of
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americans, shut down the government and threatened default. and we are now and we will for a long time experience the consequences of that kind of reckless behavior on capitol hill. you know, the unemployment claims, the confidence figures are i think we can expect that data going forward will reflect the hit at our economy to because some lawmakers decided it was more important to wage an ideological battle, once again, over health care reform, than to fulfill their basic responsibresponsib ility to the american people when it comes to not inflicting wounds on the economy gratuitously. because that's what they did. we moved on here in his human elsewhere across washington on what the story of the date is, and i'm not arguing with the fact that their other stores to cover, because there are. but when it comes to the american people out there, i guarantee that most of your readers and viewers and
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listeners care a lot more about their economic plight and how that shutdown affected their lives and how come you know, how what washington does affects economic growth and job creation and a lot of other things, anything else really. i think every organization here that does outlook opinion research will tell you that that is the overwhelming preoccupation of the american people. and so when it comes to the issues that americans care about the most common we saw a gratuitous insult to the american people by the decision to shut down the government and flirt with default. we're going to pay a price as an economy for a while now because of that decision. >> thank you. [inaudible] and any other one is -- >> i'll see if we have more information on that. >> does the white house wanted him just to kind of delaye delae cancellation notices until you can wrap up the information
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necessary so less people can make -- >> i think the readout idq is -- idd is present stand out on anything more on it for you. we are in november. i think what our message is brought as we all need to make sure that those folks, that portion of the 5% who are affected by this because the coverage was changed or canceled in the previous three years are being made aware of the options of able to them. when it comes to substandard plans, you know, they need to know that there are better options available to them, that they might qualify for medicaid because it's been expanded, that they might qualify for a tax credit which will bring down the costs, the premium costs. so i think we are working together with everyone involved in the marketplace is to make sure that information is getting out. >> with the president's remarks
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yesterday and effort by him to fix, if you like it, you can keep it statements that he had made previously without elaborating on? >> no. i think the president, with the president said last in a consistent with what he said in boston when it comes to this issue, when it comes to those have been getting notices, that fraction of the 5% have been getting notices. you know, what we're trying to do here is make sure that americans have all the information they need, and we accept that because of the problems with the website and, you know, and other issues that it's on the us to make sure that they're getting that information. and we need to do everything we can to improve the means by which those people can get the information they deserve. and they get the benefits that they have and deserve under the law.
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>> is present obama aware that there are people -- is president obama aware that people feel lied to by his -- >> what i would say is, the president has, you know, worked with congress to pass a law that addresses the concerns that millions of americans have about the insecurity created by a total lack of insurance, or a lack of quality insurance. and his commitment to everyone out there who is affected by this is to make sure that they have better options available to them, that they know that they can get subsidies, that they may qualify for medicaid, and you know, the purpose here is to fulfill the promise of the law. and everything that has happened because of the website that has made that harder is something
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that frustrates him enormously, but he is focused on the american people for whom the benefits were designed. you know, i understand. i think this goes to what i was saying before that there's a lot of focus here in washington on the problems that have been associated with the rollout of the affordable care act, or the marketplace is. and that's absolutely fine and appropriate. most americans out there our focus on their bottom lines. i focus on what the local economy and the state economy is doing and what it means to them. their focus on was not washington is taking action to grow jobs and create more middle-class security. to extend their focus on health care, because maybe they are not one of the 80% who is covered by their employer or medicaid or medicare or the va, is on getting the kind of security that the affordable care act
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offers in the provision of quality, affordable health interest. that's our focus. this goes to economic security principally, as well as broader goals that include reducing the deficit and getting a grip on what were exploding health care costs that hurt our employers and hurt the government, hurt the taxpayers around the count country. >> are you focus on what they thought the president told him, what turned out not to be the case? >> mark, we are focused on making sure that the people who got these letters that you are talking about understand two things. one, that they have options of able to them that will absolutely mean better insurance coverage than what they've had in the past. that they may get it without any cost if they qualify for extended medicaid, and then they did at reduced of the same cost because they qualify for tax credits. that's the president's focus and
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that's the focus of the entire effort within the administration on implementing the affordable care act and making sure that these marketplaces are working effectively. i '01 in the back. [inaudible] i wonder if you could share some insight on how the president feels about that and what he feels like he is a congress in the last years. >> if you ask me how he felt about the reelection, i think it's pretty sunset with result but, you know, what i think is true of this president, it's true of any president who is fortunate enough to have been elected to this remarkable office for two consecutive terms, which is that it is your absolute responsibility to wake up every day, focus on working for the american people, figuring out what you can do to make the economy better, to make
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it, create more jobs and increased middle-class security, and to make sure you're making decisions that enhance the security of the american people when it comes to the threat against our nation that are still out there. so this is, you know, these are all waiting responsibility that come with the office. and ages can seem like a long time but given the challenges that face us and all that we have to do, the president is focused on using everyday that's available to him that he was given through the election process by the american people. every time we meet with them he's focused on what can we do today to achieve some of these long-term goals, because he may be focused on what we can do today but to all the back and forth we've seen of this year over so many issues, he is
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always -- he is always focus on the long-term. he has a long-term objective even if there's a lot of upheaval and difficulty in the short and medium term. and i think that's a function of fact that he came to this office, you know, and along a path that was different from most of his predecessors, that he hadn't spent a lot of time in washington engaged on who wins the day or the week activity that can sometimes become the focus here. you know, he came here because he believes that with the help of congress and with the help of a lot of really dedicated people we could bring about some positive change. he could bring about some positive change with the team for the economy and for the people. [inaudible] >> yes, i serve again. i would say that a goal that i probably most people in this
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room, sir kevin and his -- would never happen which is weird make permanent tax cuts for the middle class and raise rates on millionaires and billionaires happened on the first of this year. i would say that the numbers progress we have made on immigration reform which the president made clear was a top priority for 2013 is a result of the efforts of the president and everyone else here in washington, democrat and republican and all the stakeholders around the country who have worked tirelessly to bring about this essential change for our economy. we are not there yet but we have an enormous amount of progress that we can point to. and the fact that it is now, the president had a meeting today -- today, josh? i mean, this is, what the president has pointed to, like with the coalition here on pushing for immigration reform
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that is unlike any coalition that we usually see, which is business and labor, law enforcement and faith leaders, democrats and republicans. and the benefits of woul of thee enormous for our economy, for innovation. you know, so there is -- an not insignificant fact even though situation in syria remains arrhythmic. >> we will be the white house briefing at this point as the was senate is returning after their weekly party lunches. now live to the senate floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i don't know if there is a quorum call. no. the presiding officer: there is not. mr. sanders: then i would just ask to be allowed to address the senate for a brief period of time. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. sanders: i just wanted to touch this afternoon on two issues and one is the issue of
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social security, which is life and death for many, many millions of americans, as well as the issue of medicare and medicaid. and the main point that i want to make -- and i make this as a member of the budget conference committee -- is the american people, regardless of their political persuasion, democrat, republican, independent, conservative, progressive, whatever, the american people are quite united in stating that they do not want cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid and they do not believe that we should balance the budget on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in that -- in this country. according to the latest "national journal," united technologies' poll, 81% of the american people do not want to cut medicare benefits at all.
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76% of the american people do not want to cut social security benefits at all. 60% of the american people do not want to cut medicaid benefits at all. and what the american -- and this is just one of many polls that are out there. and what the american people understand is that millions of people are hurting in today's economy. poverty, number of people living in poverty, at an all-time high. median family income going down. unemployment much, much too high. people are hurting and we cannot make devastating cuts on the social safety net which is life -- literally life and death for so many of our people. and i did want to mention, madam chair, that i worked on a petition drive with a number of grass-roots organizations throughout this country and they include credo, daily coast, campaign for america's future, social security works, democracy for america, progressives united, move on, other 9, u.s.
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action and the alliance for retired americans. and within a pretty short period of time, less than a week, we have gotten over -- somewhere around a half a million names on a petition which says very clearly, do not cut social security, medicare and medicaid. do not balance the budget on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in this country. and the other point that i would make when we talk about the budget is at the end of the day, people do believe that the deficit is too high and we should be proud, by the way, in the last four years we've cut the deficit in half. but it is too high. but what the american people also say that is -- what is much more significant to them is the me and the fact that we have so many people who are unemployed. and i would just point out, as somebody who believes very strongly -- and i speak as a
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former mayor of burlington, vermont -- who believes absolutely that when your infrastructure, your roads and your bridges and your rail system, is in need of enormous investment, where we can create millions of decent paying jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, that what the american people are saying is, yeah, we have got to create jo jobs. i would just point out that according to a march 3, 2013, gallup poll, 75% of the american people, including 56% of republicans, 74% of independents, and 93% of democrats support -- and i quote -- "a federal jobs creation law that would spend government money for a program designed to create more than a million new jobs." so again, you know, across -- people say well, we're divided in america. well, you know what? in in ways, we're not so divide. many people say don't cut social security and medicare and medicaid. the american people say the most
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important issue facing our country is creating jobs. they want the federal government to do that. in this body, we are divided. but among the american people on many of these issues, republicans, democrats, independents, they're not quite so divided. i would also point out that when we talk about unemployment, an area that does not get anywhere near the kind of discussion that we need, is youth unemployment in america. and i would tell you, madam chair, that as horrendous as unemployment is for anybody of any age, it is so terrible for the young people who are graduating high school and graduating college. you know, what we say -- all of us say to the young people in this country, don't stand on street corners, don't do drugs, go out and get a job, create a career, make it into the middle class, and yet real unemployment for young people in this count country, for youth in this country is somewhere around 20%. 20%. among african-american young
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people, it is over 40%. and i don't hear the discussion here in the senate about the need to create the millions of jobs that our young people desperately need. so when they leave school, they can go out and create a career for themselves and make it into the middle class. and i worry very much about those young people who don't have that opportunity. i would point out, madam chair, that in an interview published on october 1, 2013, pope francis said -- and let me quote what the pope said -- "the most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old." and he's not, of course, just talking about america. he's talking about what's going on throughout the world. "the old need care and companionship. the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other. and the problem is, they don't even lock for them anymore." and i couldn't agree more. we cannot turn our backs on the elderly.
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we cannot cut social security and medicare. we cannot turn our backs on the young people. they need to be able to be given the opportunity to have decent jobs and make a life for themselves. madam chair, i also wanted to say a few words about a piece of legislation that just passed the health, education, and labor committee. i am the chairperson of the subcommittee on primary health care and aging. and i want to thank chairman harkin and ranking member lamar alexander, who are cosponsors of the older americans act legislation that just the last week came out of committee. this is a bill that some of us have been working on for several years. the older americans act is an enormously important piece of legislation for senior citizens all over this country. the bill that came out of committee in a very strong,
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bipartisan way has the strong support of over 50 national organizations representing tens of millions of americans, including aarp, the national committee to preserve social security and medicare, the national council on aging, the alzheimer's association, and the meals on wheels association of america. i won't go into all of what this bill does -- i don't have the time to do that -- but it deals with the issue, very important issue, of elder abuse and making sure that seniors in nursing homes get the care and respect that they are entitled to. it deals with long-term care ombudsman program. it places an increased emphasis on evidence-based programs. it addresses the changing nature of senior centers in america, prevents fraud and abuse, focuses on home care and nutrition services. there's a lot in this bill that i think is quite good and it's a step forward.
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here is one of the problems that we have, and senator burr of north carolina raised it, and appropriately so. the issue is that we are seeing in this country in general a migration of folks from northern parts of the country to the south. that's not a new issue. including many seniors. and what senator burr was arguing is that he thinks the current formula is unfair, that it does not take into account that kind of migration, and i think he has a valid point which we want to address. but here is the other point and more important point, i think. since 2006, the last year in which the older americans act was reauthorized, the u.s. population over 60 has grown by 20%. as the baby boomers age, every single state in this country has seen their senior population grow. yet -- and here is the important point -- federal funding for this legislation is the same
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today as it was in 2006. that's $1.8 billion. funding for the act in terms of real inflation accounted-for dollars has decreased by more than $250 million during that period of time. so you have a growth in the senior population, you have a decline in real dollars going into the needs of seniors through the older americans act. and this is a very, very serious problem. and you compound that problem with the migration from the north to some states in the south. what's the solution? well, i think the solution is pretty simple. if we understand that the older americans act is an enormously cost-effective act act, you dont need to be a gerentologist or a physician who deals with senior citizens to understand that when a senior is malnourished, doesn't get the nutrition that he or she needs, that senior is
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more likely to break a hip by falling, that senior is more likely to get sick, end up in the emergency room and the hospital at great cost. everybody knows -- no debate about this -- that when seniors have the companionship, when they have the nutrition that they need, they are less likely to end up in the emergency room, they're less likely to end up in the hospital and we can save money. study after study she's investing in programs like the older american act -- older americans act, and that is the meals on wheels program, the congregate meal program, employment opportunities for seniors, dealing with elder abuse, when you invest in those programs, you save money. not only from a moral -- you not only from a moral perspective make life better for seniors, you actually save federal money by preventing other bad things from happening. so i would hope -- i would hope
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that our committee and members of the senate can work together to say that increasing funding for the older americans act is not only the right thing to do for millions of americans, it is also, in fact, the cost-effective way to go. and i think if we can increase funding, we can deal with some of the issue as that senator burr has raised. what i will not support is making drastic cuts in certain states like iowa, new york, or massachusetts in order to increase funding in other states. what we have to do is protect every state in this country because there is no state where programs like the meals on wheels program do not already have long waiting lines. so what we need to do is invest in these programs, and when we do that, i think we will have done a very, very important thing for seniors all over this country. and with that, madam president, i would yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business for 10 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: thank you. i come to the floor today to talk about the health care law. we've reached the one-month milestone of the embarrassing rollout of healthcare.government and it still doesn't work. and there's no shortage of media. bloomberg -- "insurers getting faulty data from u.s. health exchanges." "consumer reports" -- "stay away from healtawayfrom another month, if you can." "forbes" -- now she tells us.
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is a we'll ya says obamacare's exchange -- is he bail ya sayis a we'll and the associated press -- "government shows a lack of testing posed a high security risk." nebraskans have relayed the same frustrating messages to me and to my office. one nebraskan from oglala shared that she was on the web site from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and was not able to set up an account. she said, after six hours, the web site screen read -- quote -- "the account couldn't be created at this time." another nebraskan from norfort said he couldn't get the web site to work so he contacted a web site official who actually said he couldn't help him. instead, the official directed him back to the nonworking web site.
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the accounts from people who have experienced page crashes, hours and hours of slow service, no service, and information errors goes on and on and on. yesterday i launched a page on my web site for nebraskans to share their obamacare stories. in just the first 24 hours, nearly all of the stories i have received are heart-wrenching accounts about the law's negative impact. despite the headlines and stories flooding in across the country, the president continues his all-too-familiar cheerleading act. rather than offering americans the accountability and the transparency they deserve, the president claims, and i'm quoting -- "the product is working. it's really good."


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