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Sen. Isakson speaks on recession, proposed health care bill at Business Luncheon
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United States Senator Johnny Isakson speaks and takes questions during Tuesday's Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce meeting at Forest Heights Country Club. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson spoke about concerns with the nation's proposed health care bill Tuesday during a segment of the Business Luncheon series hosted by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce.
    The series is sponsored by the Chamber's Government and Operations Committee.
    Isakson spoke against the proposed "dramatic change in health care," saying the bill favored by President Barack Obama, is directed "to drive everybody to a government option" when it comes to health care.
    The national debt will explode to "One trillion, three billion dollars — and that's a lot of money," he said.  "How are we going to pay?"  Medicare requirements will go from "100 percent poverty to 150 percent poverty" and the burden of debt will be transferred from federal to state governments.
    The proposed health care bill will result in "substantial lessening of the quality and accessibility of Medicare," he said. And in the end, small businesses will be unfairly taxed — possibly up to over half of their income — to offset the costs of health care plans as proposed by bill authors.
    Should the bill pass, Medicare costs would increase from 12 percent of the state's budget to 20 percent, he said.
    "I'm not too disposed to vote in favor of the health care bill," Isakson said.
    He suggested offering rewards to consumers in the form of discounts to those who followed better health guidelines, such as not smoking, keeping blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol low.
    Isakson spoke about the recession, and said he has lived through several recessions in the past. However, this one is different, he said.
    "It's going to be a long time out," he said. "There's going to be a new normal." Isakson predicted people will be more responsible with money. " We've got to return to financial discipline as individuals, but so does the United States government."
    The country should follow Georgia's example, he said, such as having furloughs and budget cuts.
    He told the group he has a simple method of deciding on how to vote on issues.
    "I'm going to think, is it good for little Hunter, my four-day-old grandson? If it is, I'll vote for it."
    Isakson answered a couple of questions submitted by people attending the luncheon, including more questions about the health care bill and the interstate water issues.

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