Feb 19, 2010
Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) today released the following weekly column regarding the Feb. 25 White House health care summit. The full text of the column is below:
"As the Feb. 25 White House health care summit approaches, I continue to hear from 8th District residents concerned about the job-killing taxes, fees and new layers of bureaucratic red tape in Washington Democrats’ health care bills.
"Southwest Ohioans are not alone in their concerns about the President’s plans for a massive transformation of the American health care system. According to a recent poll, more than 60 percent of Americans want to scrap Washington Democrats’ government takeover of health care and start over. That’s why I and my Republican colleagues have called for the White House discussion on Feb. 25 to begin with a clean sheet of paper, rather than starting with the massive (and massively unpopular) bills passed by Congress.
"Republicans welcome discussion, a chance to start over and an opportunity to offer our ideas. In fact, we’ve been calling for such a meeting with the President since last May. But I remain concerned about ongoing developments surrounding the proposed summit that suggest Washington Democrats are far from ready to truly start over and engage in bipartisan discussion.
"Notably absent from the guest list as of this writing are governors and state legislators across the country who have much at stake in the debate over health care. Current Democratic proposals would saddle states with billions of dollars in new costs through an expansion of Medicaid, leading 36 states, including Ohio, to propose legislation to opt-out of a federal takeover of health care and its burdensome mandates. Given the costs they will bear, states deserve to have their voices heard in any truly open, bipartisan discussion.
"Meanwhile, Democrats in both the House and Senate are pushing forward with their government takeover of health care the American people continue to reject. In fact, the top health care aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently told the press that Democrats are working to develop a ‘prenegotiated’ agreement and preparing to employ a ‘trick’ to bypass rules in the Senate and ram legislation through on a one-party vote. And a group of liberal senators are pushing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to reinsert the public option in the Senate health care bill.
"Clearly, there appears to be some kind of shell game going on. As I noted in a recent letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, bipartisanship is not writing proposals of your own behind closed doors, then unveiling them and demanding Republican support. Bipartisanship starts at the beginning of the process, not the end of the process.
"Republicans want to work together with Democrats to pass health care reform that reflects the common ground Americans want: lower health care costs and increased access to quality health care. That’s why when Washington Democrats’ decided to go-it-alone, we offered an alternative plan to lower health care premiums by up to 10 percent without raising taxes, slashing Medicare, or putting federal bureaucrats in charge of health care.
"Americans want Washington leaders to scrap the current health care bill and start the discussions on Feb. 25 with a clean sheet of paper. From there, we can work together on a rational, step-by-step, common sense approach to health care reform that puts top priority on lowering health care costs."
Boehner represents Ohio’s 8th District, which includes all of Darke, Miami, and Preble counties, most of Butler and Mercer counties, and the northeastern corner of Montgomery County. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.