Duncan on health care bill: ‘We simply cannot afford it’

U.S. Representative John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) delivered the following remarks last week after House leaders unveiled their latest health care plan:

“The federal government has totally screwed up medical care over the past 40 years and has made it unaffordable for most people. We need major reform.

“However, the bill introduced by Speaker Pelosi will make health care even more expensive and bureaucratic in the years ahead. This is change that will make a bad situation even worse.

“There are too many problems with the bill to cover in a brief statement. But one very major problem is the cost. Medicare and Medicaid now cost more than 10 times what was predicted. You can be sure that this bill will also cost many times more than is estimated over the next few years.

“With a national debt of $12 trillion, and a deficit just this year of a staggering $1.4 trillion, we simply cannot afford it.”

n In other news from Duncan’s office, the congressman announced funds for two agricultural research projects at the University of Tennessee, totaling $2 million.

The amount of $1 million in federal funding has been awarded for Bioenergy Plant Production and Carbon Sequestration research. This project will allow UT researchers to continue their efforts to understand and improve the sequestration of carbon in plants, particularly energy crops developed as feedstock for biofuel production.

An additional $1 million has been allocated for Phytosensors for Crop Security and Precision Agriculture. The goal of this research, according to the University of Tennessee, is “…to produce crop plants that can be used directly as early-warning sentinels for the detection of plant disease. An early warning system would be invaluable for protecting our food supply. If farmers know about an outbreak of a disease before symptoms show, then crops can be treated and rescued with minimal economic losses.”

The funding was secured by Rep. Duncan through the Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations process.

“I am very pleased I was able to help the University of Tennessee secure these vital research funds,” Duncan said. “UT is one of the greatest assets of East Tennessee and a leader in the scientific community, especially in the field of agriculture. The research conducted today will yield the technology used by the agriculture industry in the future, and I am always proud of the continuing.

Duncan also announced the awarding of $500,000 in research funding to the National Transportation Research Center, Inc. (NTRCI) in Knoxville for over-the-road, heavy-vehicle testing of the Legacy rotary engine.

The Legacy engine is a new type of rotary diesel engine in the trucking industry.

According to the NTRCI, “The Legacy engine configuration is ideally suited for hybrid applications and offers significant advances over conventional internal combustion engines in fuel economy, reduced emissions, and lower cost of ownership… the legacy engine will demonstrate an increase in overall efficiency greater than 20 percent compared to any conventional engine.”

A a long-time member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Duncan has been a long-time advocate for the Nation’s infrastructure and transportation research.

“It is no secret that our Nation’s infrastructure is in dire need of repair. But what many may not realize, is that much of the technology that will be used to modernize our highways and enhance vehicle efficiency is coming right out of the NTRCI here in Knoxville,” Duncan said.

The NTRCI is located on Cherahala Boulevard in Knoxville.

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