Hello, I’m Charles Boustany, a doctor and member of the House Republican Health Care Solutions Group.
We all know that in this troubled economy, American families are increasingly worried about their healthcare. In my home of Louisiana, I hear constantly from families and small businesses about rising costs and fears of losing coverage, and as a physician I saw this first-hand.
Let me be clear, Republicans want to work with President Obama and other Democrats to ensure that every American has access to affordable, high-quality health coverage.
Despite our differences on some important healthcare-related issues, we are convinced there are areas offering potential for common ground on healthcare reform among the two parties.
We believe we must make quality healthcare coverage affordable and accessible for every American, regardless of preexisting health conditions.
President Obama has called for a plan that "puts us on a clear path to cover all Americans," and said "no American should be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions."
We believe healthcare reform must let Americans who like their healthcare coverage keep it, and give all Americans the freedom to choose the healthcare plan that best meets their families’ needs.
The president has said Americans "should have the option of keeping their employer-based health plan," and said reform "should provide Americans a choice of health plans and physicians."
We believe healthcare reform must improve Americans’ lives through effective prevention, wellness and disease management programs, while developing new treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases, and respecting the value of human life. The president has said healthcare reform must address "cost drivers" in our system such as "obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and smoking."
We believe it is possible -- and necessary -- to achieve these objectives through common-sense reforms without raising taxes, rationing care, eliminating employer-sponsored health benefits for working families, empowering government bureaucrats at the expense of patients and doctors, or adding even more to our ever-growing national debt.
At the same time, Republicans are concerned about news reports indicating that some Democrats favor a policy called a "government" or "public" option. We need to be clear about what this means.
From my former practice, I know allowing the government to replace the health coverage that more than 100 million Americans currently have through their jobs could have devastating consequences.
A government takeover of healthcare will put bureaucrats in charge of healthcare decisions that should be made by families and doctors. It will limit treatment options and lead to rationed care.
And to pay for government healthcare, your taxes will be raised. That is something we cannot support, and frankly, it would clearly violate some of the principles the president himself has endorsed.
That having been said, I want to reiterate Republicans’ sincere desire to work with President Obama and Democrats to find common ground on the issue of healthcare reform. Despite our differences, we are convinced there are areas of common-sense agreement on healthcare reform among Republicans and Democrats.
This issue is just too important to let partisanship or blind ideology get in the way. Let’s all work together to do the right thing for the American people. Thank you for listening. ###