Message on health care is ignored by Democrats

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America is watching the House of Representatives as it is the last line of defense to protect them from a government-takeover of health care. Recently, the President reversed his earlier stance and endorsed a controversial legislative tactic known as reconciliation to pass a government-takeover of health care. It will change the rules to pass the health care bill by denying Senate Republicans the right to kill the bill by stalling with a filibuster. The House and the Senate would then use reconciliation to pass a set of fixes to the bill, to satisfy the demands of lawmakers in the House.

Reforming our health care system is perhaps the most important issue that Washington will address this Congress. As a member of the Republican Truth Squad during the President’s Health Care Summit and now by delivering the Republican response to the President’s weekly address this weekend, I have been fortunate to play a leading role in the health care debate. My response to the President’s weekly address outlined the dangers of putting government in charge of medical decisions that should be made by patients and doctors. As a physician who spent 30 years treating patients across north Alabama, there is no doubt that our health care system needs to be reformed, however, the President’s bill does nothing to offer a solution to our health care reform needs.

The American public has said for the past year that this health care bill is not what they want. Public opinion polls demonstrate that Americans do not want a government takeover of health care. A recent CNN reported that 73 percent of Americans want Congress to start over and drop health care entirely for now. In my own town halls and meetings I have conducted in north Alabama, I talked with doctors, nurses, business owners and consumers, all who expressed opposition to a government take-over of our health care system. Yet, we have a President determined to disregard what the American public wants in order to push through his agenda.

The message I hope to make clear through my Republican response to those Members of Congress who may be sitting on the fence is the American public does not want this health care plan. President Obama’s ‘new’ plan of reconciliation is just more of the same that has already been rejected by the American people. It includes massive spending and a government-run public option, much like the health care bill I, and hundreds of members of Congress, already voted against.

The White House has recently released unemployment numbers revealing the economic policies of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have failed. Approximately 36,000 jobs were lost last month while our unemployment numbers hover around 10 percent. These are ‘our’ unemployment numbers because Congress needs to be held responsible for passing an ineffective stimulus bill and continuing to increase our national debt. Even as I voted against both pieces of legislation, I cannot sit idly by as the Democrats try to pass yet another ineffective bill by ramming through an unwanted government-takeover of health care.

It is not too late to scrap Washington Democrats’ government takeover of health care and start over with a clean sheet of paper and a step-by-step approach focused on lowering costs and protecting American jobs. A true health care reform bill will increase the number of medical schools, will allow insurance companies to compete across state lines, contain meaningful tort reform, and will allow small businesses to group together to purchase health care plans at reasonable costs.

The Democrats have now spent more than eight months peddling a bill that the public does not want instead of focusing on fixing the economy and generating new jobs. I am pleased to take a leadership role in the health care debate to give a voice to the public who have, up until now, been ignored by Democrats.