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July 26, 2023

Schweikert: Fighting for a Healthier America Transcends Partisan Politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative David Schweikert (AZ-01) delivered a speech on the House Floor last night to discuss how nearly all of FY2023 discretionary spending is on borrowed money. Rep. Schweikert also noted that diabetes accounts for a significant portion of all U.S. health care spending and urged his colleagues to put their differences aside and enact meaningful legislation that will begin to put the nation on a path to a healthier society.

Excerpts from Rep. Schweikert’s floor speech can be found below:

Click here or on the image above to view Rep. Schweikert’s remarks.

On nearly the entire federal government being funded on borrowed money this fiscal year:

[Beginning at 4:20 mark]
“This fiscal year, [I have] us coming in around $1,840 billion of borrowing. Why is that important? The 2023 Fiscal Year discretionary [spending], defense included, defense and non-defense discretionary, was to be $1,836 billion in total spending, basically meaning every dime of what you think of as government is on borrowed money this year. When we go home and talk to our constituents, do we basically say, ‘Hey, do you know all of defense, all of the Supreme Court, all of the State Department, all of everything you think of as government is on borrowed money?’ Is that what we do? Because how many times do we go home and [someone mentions if we just got rid of foreign aid, we’d balance the budget]. And then I show them my chart that foreign aid [covers] 12 days of borrowing. And they just look at you with daggers saying, ‘Well, then it’s waste and fraud!'”

On diabetes accounting for 33% of all U.S. health care spending:

[Beginning at 6:00 mark]
“Diabetes is 33% of all U.S. health care [spending]. It’s 31% of all Medicare spending. We need to talk about it. Our brothers and sisters in this country are dying, and we’re afraid to talk about it. So, I’m going to spend the first part here sounding like an economist on steroids, and I’m going to try to explain what the cost is here. Then, I’m going to try to talk a little bit about just the simple morality of not doing anything. So, let’s actually play a little bit of a game here. Estimated deficit reduction for FY2023 — if you actually were just to take on obesity-related illnesses this fiscal year [would be] $283 billion. Well remember, the Democrats’ [and President Biden’s] tax proposal was we’re going to go from 37% to 39% for top earners — stagnant number. None of these are dynamically scored on the effects on the economy, because if you made people healthier on this side, the economy would grow. When you raise people’s taxes, the economy shrinks, but the stagnant number is $30 billion. So, just obesity-related spending will be $283 billion this fiscal year to the taxpayers. And the Democrats’ [and President Biden’s] tax hike produces $30 billion. Does anyone see the insanity here? So, we basically did the math for everyone, saying Democrats would have to increase the top tax rate to 62% to raise the same amount of money as getting rid of obesity for people on government programs. That’s uncomfortable to talk about, but think about that. You’d basically have to raise the top tax rate to 62% just to produce the revenues for this population here. It’s a different way. I’m struggling just trying to find a creative way to get people to think about that the path of having a healthier America is both moral and great economics.”

On projected federal spending on obesity-related illnesses over the next 10 years:

[Beginning at 11:44 mark]
“Estimated deficit reduction between FY24-33. Projected federal spending on all obesity-related illnesses. Now remember, this is a static number. There’s also, we estimate, about another $1.5 trillion that you would gain in productivity because these populations can actually come back and participate in the society. But over that time, it’s over $4 trillion is what our government will spend. Now add in another $1.5 trillion on the economic vitality you gain. You would actually have to have a marginal tax rate for the top earners in this country of 65% to come close to covering that cost, and that’s for one illness. Now, it’s the illness that is the most expensive in our society because it’s related to diabetes and kidney failure and heart attacks and everything else. But am I sort of making the point? Because we’re seeing over $4 trillion just in the disease, and the Biden tax proposal produces $375 billion over the 10 years. For those of you who are not really good at math, $375 billion is a hell of a lot less than $4 trillion, and this is the lunacy here where the theater is so much more important than the reality of the math.

“So, let’s actually walk through this. Joint Economic Committee Republicans estimate the cost of obesity over the 10 years — so, the 10 years we’re about to start the budget cycle on — is $5.6 trillion. If you want to start to stabilize debt-to-GDP, can we at least have a conversation about this? When you start to see the mortality statistics in this country, the number of working age people, people who should be actually living their lives, who are dying, and they’re dying early. I’m going to show you a chart in a little bit of our young people, and what’s going on there. The game of avoiding this discussion needs to come to an end because the economics and the morality of it are here. So let’s pull our heads out. It’s time to actually have that difficult conversation.”

On promising drug therapies to treat diabetes:

[Beginning at 25:00 mark]
“FDA approves first cellular therapy to treat patients with Type 1 diabetes. Yes, it’s finally one of them, and there’s a half a dozen of these that are in their FDA approval stages or tests. But the first one is fully approved now. That therapy can get the body to start accepting a replenishment of islet cells and islet cells produce insulin. It’s here. So, do you see the flow? If we actually said we need a healthier society, oh, by the way, it’s amazing for what it does in bending the debt curve. Oh, by the way, it’s moral, oh by the way, it would mean actual populations can come back into society. We can get productivity gains. We have a way to help people manage their prediabetic with some technology. We have some ways to help people get their weight down. Oh, by the way, those people that do get their weight down — the 30% or so that their body is so damaged they can’t produce insulin anymore — it turns out we can replace the islet cells in their body now. It’s here. It’s moral. It’s optimistic. It’s joyful.”

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