*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thank you [REP] Carl [Isett] and thank you for your service to our state and our nation.
I want to thank everyone for being here today and for giving me the chance to hear your perspectives on the ongoing effort in Washington to take over the American health care system.
With a couple of different bills in play and so many different voices coming out of Congress it can be tough to figure out exactly what Washington has in mind.
The signs we've seen to date are not encouraging. In fact, they're downright frightening.
A few weeks ago I received a report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that set aside the soft issues and described the proposed reforms in terms everyone can understand: dollars.
Turns out we're talking billions of dollars, with a b that will stream out of the wallets and purses of our citizens without significantly improving access or treatment in our health care system.
In the same way you can kill a plant with too much fertilizer, Washington is on the verge of overwhelming our healthcare system with more bureaucracy and more taxpayer dollars.
The end result will be a system that lacks the vitality and innovation that comes from true competition.
Take out the free market forces that exert downward pressure on prices and we'll really be in trouble.
Don't get me wrong: our healthcare system isn't perfect.
However, the federal government is doing what they do best spending huge amounts of borrowed money on fixes that don't necessarily solve the problem.
Outside of tube socks and trucker caps, the "one-size-fits-all" approach just doesn't work.
Cutting into a state's ability to apply local fixes to local problems stifles the sort of innovative solutions that states can create when we're given the chance.
Regardless of which approach Washington chooses I can assure you that it will feature one key message they want more control of your health care, and they want it now.
The people joining me here today have dedicated their lives to providing health care to people in need, so they know this business inside and out.
Their experience and study have left them well-versed on what's not working, but they also have probably the best grasp on what is working within the health care system.
Their points of view, their experiences, and their insights are vital to this process.
Unfortunately, Washington has largely turned a deaf ear in their direction, preferring, instead, to let a group of career bureaucrats dictate the approach all of America must take.
We can be pretty certain that will not end well.
So, we will continue to discuss these issues and make our voices be heard, because we are the people who pay the taxes and, most importantly, because we are the ones who will live with whatever care the federal government decides is sufficient for us and our families.
Given the choice, we'd prefer local solutions to local challenges. That's how we do things in Texas.
So, thank you all again for your passion on this issue, and don't give up because this conversation is far from over.
Now, to continue this conversation, I'd like to introduce a man who is right at the center of the debate as it rages in Texas, the Texas Commissioner of Insurance Mr. Mike Geeslin. Mike?