U.S. Rep. Cassidy addresses Rotary, Plaquemine High

PETER SILAS PAQUA news@postsouth.com
U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy addresses the Plaquemine Rotary Club at their monthly meeting as their keynote speaker at The Island Country Club on Thursday

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) of Baton Rouge addressed the Plaquemine Rotary Club as their monthly keynote speaker at The Island Country Club on Thursday mid-day about the national debt, healthcare, the energy policy and safety net programs after addressing the students of Plaquemine High School about the importance of education earlier in the day.

"There is nothing that is going to happen until after the election," Cassidy said. "It all depends on who the next president is. Historians will write about this election 100 years from now and we are living through it."

Cassidy, a physician by trade who practiced at Earl K. Long Medical Center and helped found the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic to provide uninsured residents with free health care, said at the current rate, Medicare will be bankrupt in 12 years.

"Congress is limited and by law, you just have to shut the program down," Cassidy said.

Cassidy said 10,000 baby boomers a day will go on to Medicare over the next 10 years and the average life expectancy has grown from 72 to 82 since the program's inception in 1964.

"Obama care is a top down approach," Cassidy said. "It is the federal bureaucrat that has the power. I favor giving the patient the power. That is the opposite of Obama care. When you have your own insurance policy you have the power. If you are dependent upon the government to give you insurance, you do not."

Cassidy also said he believes the movement of the inpatient facility at Long Medical Center to Our Lake of the Lake Hospital will serve patients betters.

Regarding national debt, Cassidy said the U.S. is on the path to a point where the country's debt load will become much greater than it can sustain.

"If we don't address our national debt, we are going to go bankrupt," Cassidy said. "This last recession has been really tough especially for blue collar workers. They have been socked, too."

As far as the energy policy, Cassidy said there is going to be a major crossroads moving forward and there has been a tremendous amount of job growth in the creation of America's own energy sources.

"Developing America's energy resources creates jobs in manufacturing, mining and construction both directly and indirectly," Cassidy said. "When we create affordable American energy, we create good paying American jobs."

When asked why the farm bill is intertwined with food stamps, Cassidy said in the past, it was politically decided that they needed to be combined to get passed and added that under the Obama administration, people under food stamps has expanded.

"Nothing undermines support of safety net programs like seeing your neighbor living in a nice home buying crawfish with food stamps," Cassidy said. "Food stamps are being protected rather than the interest of the farmer."

Cassidy also said that he believes Iberville Parish is using a lot of resources to elevate Plaquemine High but also stated that the federal government should be the last entity involved in a child's education.

"I think that control of a child's education should begin with parents, then the local school board, followed by the state superintendent and last of all the federal government," Cassidy said. "Currently, the federal government is kind of the most important player and then it trickles all the way down to the parent as the least important. We need to flip that upside down."

Finally, Cassidy said he was honored to serve the public and noted his delegation incorporating the Capital Region includes the highest percentage of African Americans by a republican in Congress.

"When I went to Washington, I said it was dysfunctional," Cassidy said. "Four years later, I have found out it is really dysfunctional."