Feature:Opinion

Don’t stop fighting for real health care reform

Rep. Tom Price Vice Chairman, House Committee on the Budget
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Democrat leaders have said a lot of things during this year-long health care debate that most people just don’t believe. They’ve told you their plan will decrease the cost of health care, cut future deficits, and that “if you like what you have, you can keep it.” And you’ve surely heard hundreds of times the false claim that Republicans don’t have ideas of our own.

Despite all the tall tales, the public has managed to learn the truth. And the truth is very ugly. Americans want more control over their health care decisions—this plan puts Washington in charge. Americans are most concerned about the rapid rise of federal spending, deficits, taxes, and the cost of health care. Yet, the chief Medicare actuary says the Democrats’ plan will increase national health care spending by $222 billion over ten years.

They also claim their plan will reduce the deficit by $118 billion over ten years. Of course, you can only get that number by double-counting funds taken from Medicare and using a “take money in for 10 years, pay money out for six” strategy. Even so, these phantom savings pale in comparison to the $220 billion deficit the federal government ran in February 2010—one month!—alone.

Clearly, this plan doesn’t alleviate Americans’ concerns; it accentuates them. That’s why Republicans have offered better solutions. It’s not enough just to sound the right chord at campaign rallies. It’s about doing what’s best for the American people.

This government takeover is a far cry from the patient-centered reforms the public wants. Like most Americans, Republicans reject an unconstitutional federal mandate compelling individuals to buy health insurance that the government picks for them. We know this plan to reduce choices, increase spending, raise taxes, and take power away from patients is the wrong prescription. And we won’t quit fighting until it has been defeated.

Democrats must see what everyone else does: that the public will is solidly against their plan. When push finally comes to shove, will House Democrats currently riding the fence defy such strong public opposition?

Not amidst a constant clamor of voices from across the country telling them “NO!” We know you’ve been fighting this plan for over a year. We know you feel like your voice is being ignored by the other side. But now is the time to turn up the volume, turn up the heat, and make your voice echo from sea to shining sea.

When Democrat leaders finally see the writing on the wall and drop their push for a government takeover of health care, Congress will finally be able to focus on what Americans really want: promoting real jobs and strong private sector growth; halting this reckless spending spree; stopping the national slide into bankruptcy; and pursuing step-by-step, patient-centered health reforms that Americans support.

So don’t quit fighting. We won’t quit either. And together, we’ll score a victory for future generations.

Rep. Tom Price is a Republican Member of Congress from Georgia and chairman of the Republican Study Committee.