Congressman Bob Goodlatte issued the following statement after House Democrat leaders unveiled their latest plan for a government takeover of health care:
"The health care proposal that was unveiled today is a repackaging of what Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat leaders were pushing all summer: a Washington takeover of our health care system --one defined by federal regulation, mandates, a myriad of new big government programs, and a significant increase in federal spending and debt. There is nothing in this latest draft that will ease the concerns of my constituents and millions of other Americans who have overwhelmingly expressed their opposition to Nancy Pelosi's health care reform proposals.
We can all agree that our health care system needs reform. However, the Democrats' proposed legislative plan completely misses the mark. Whether through the "government insurance option" or other regulations and programs, Washington would have ultimate control over what is best for patients, what treatments are acceptable, and how long patients wait for needed care. Specifically this "new" proposal, which represents a significant increase in federal spending and debt, consists of 1,990 pages of bill text creating a new regulatory regime and mandates -- the word "shall" is used 3,425 times -- that many believe will drive up the cost of private health insurance and will be detrimental to small businesses. It includes 53 new government agencies and programs and costs Americans more than one trillion dollars. To pay for this massive new government expansion, the legislation contains hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax increases on all Americans and cuts more than $400 billion dollars from the Medicare program at a time when millions of baby boomers are dramatically increasing the Medicare rolls.
There is a better way. We should be turning our attention to improving health care for Americans, something ignored in the Majority's intense focus on primarily regulating just health insurance. Republicans have offered solutions that will empower patients with choices, make high quality coverage more affordable, and protect and preserve the doctor-patient relationship. True health care reform must start by making health care affordable and accessible for all Americans.
Republicans have a better approach that would cut health insurance costs and make health care better, more available, and more affordable for all Americans. Our proposals include: letting insurers sell policies across state lines to increase competition and lower premium costs, medical liability reform that would cut insurance premiums and reduce the cost of defensive medicine in the form of unnecessary tests and procedures, more efficiencies achieved through health information technology, portability of insurance so that you can take your insurance with you when you switch employers, prohibiting pre-existing condition clauses, increasing the number of community health centers, giving people who buy insurance in the private market the same tax breaks as those who get it through employers, and expanding the ability of small businesses, trade associations and other groups to set up insurance pools to offer coverage at lower rates.
Unfortunately, these items have not been considered by the Majority. We need to work together to solve this problem, taking the best ideas from both parties and enacting commonsense reform supported by the majority of Americans.
Federal health care policy should focus on strategies that help Americans obtain the best quality health care at the least cost. The best way to keep health care prices down is competition, not bureaucracies, regulations and price controls. The role of the government is to foster increased access to quality care based on individual choice, not to take away choices from people on the grounds that government knows best. I will continue working to see that these principles are included in any health care reform legislation."