GOP Leader: “The thing I have heard more than anything over the last six or seven months is that the American people want us to scrap this bill. They have said it loud. They have said it clear."
Washington, Feb 25 - During today’s White House summit, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) called on President Obama and Washington Democrats to scrap their costly, job-killing government takeover of health care and start over with a clean sheet of paper and a step-by-step approach focused on lowering costs. This isn’t the Republican view; it’s the view of the American people. Boehner also outlined how Democrats’ health care proposals contain job-killing tax hikes, deep cuts to Medicare, unconstitutional mandates on individuals, federal funding for abortion, and vast new powers for the federal bureaucracy.
“American families are struggling with health care. We all know it. The American people want us to address this in a responsible way. So I really do say thanks for having us all here.
“I think our job on behalf of our constituents, and on behalf of the American people, is to listen. And I spend time in my district. I spend time a lot of places. I have heard an awful lot. I can tell you the thing that I have heard more than anything over the last six or seven months is that the American people want us to scrap this bill. They have said it loud. They have said it clear. Let me help understand why.
“The first thing is we’ve heard from the two budget directors about our fiscal condition. We have Medicare that's going broke. We have Social Security going broke. We have Medicaid that's bankrupting not only the federal government but all the states and yet, here we are having a conversation about creating a new entitlement program that will bankrupt our country. And it will bankrupt our country. It's not that we can't do health insurance reform to help bring down costs to help save the system. This bill, this 2,700-page bill will bankrupt our country.
“Secondly, Mr. President, I'd point out that this right here is a dangerous experiment. We may have problems in our health care system, but we do have the best health care system in the world, by far. And having a government takeover of health care – and I believe that's what this is – is a dangerous experiment with the best health care system in the world that I don't think we should do.
“So why did I bring this bill today? I'll tell you why I brought it. We have $500 billion in new taxes here over the next ten years. At a time when our economy is struggling, the last thing we need to do is to be raising taxes on the American people. Secondly, we've got $500 billion worth of Medicare cuts here. I agree with Kent Conrad. We need to deal with the problem of Medicare, but if we are going to deal with a problem of Medicare and find savings in Medicare, why don't we use it to extend the life of the Medicare program as opposed spending that $500 billion creating a new entitlement program.
“But it's not just the taxes, Mr. President, or the Medicare cuts. You’ve got the individual mandate here, which I think is unwise and I do believe is unconstitutional. You’ve got an employer mandate here. It says that employers: you’ve got to provide health insurance to the American people or you're going to pay this tax. It's going to drive up the cost of employment at a time when we have over 10 percent or near 10 percent unemployment in America.
“And beyond that, a lot of employers are going to look at this and say, well, I'll pay the tax and they are going to dump their employees into the so-called exchange because in five years every American is going to have to go to the exchange to get their health care. And who's going to design health care bill offered under this exchange under this bill? The federal government's going to design every single health care bill in America within five years once this bill were to pass. I could go on and on and on.
“Let me just make one other point. For 30 years, we've had a federal law that says that we're not going to have taxpayer funding of abortions. We have had this debate in the House. It was a very serious debate. But in the House, the House spoke. The House upheld the language we have had in law for 30 years that there will be no taxpayer funding of abortions. This bill that we have before us, and there was no reference to the issue in your outline, Mr. President, begins – for the first time in 30 years – allows the taxpayer funding of abortion.
“So Mr. President, what we have been saying for a long time is, let's scrap the bill. Let's start with a clean sheet of paper on those things that we can agree on. If we bring down the cost of health insurance, we can expand access.
“Mr. President, I told you, the day after – maybe it was the day you were sworn in as president – that I would never say anything outside of the room that I wouldn’t say inside the room. I have been patient. I have listened to the debate that’s gone on here, but why can’t we agree on those insurance reforms that we have talked about? Why can’t we come to an agreement on purchasing across states lines? Why can’t we do something about the biggest cost driver, which is medical malpractice in the defensive medicine that doctors practice. Let’s start with a clean sheet of paper, and we can actually get somewhere, and we can get it into law in the next several months.”