As the House of Representatives reconvened today following the holiday break, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX/4) reiterated his opposition to a government takeover of health care and issued the following statement:
"I spent the recent break talking to folks all across the Fourth District. My constituents, along with Americans all across the country, continue to express their strong opposition to the Democrats' plan for radical health care reform. In light of these concerns, Democrats should drop their partisan plan and work with Republicans to craft bipartisan, common-sense reforms that rein in costs and make quality health care available and affordable for our citizens.
"The Republican plan, which I support, would reduce the deficit, reduce health insurance premiums by up to ten percent, allow states to establish interstate compacts, and increase fraud prevention, among other features. Instead, the Democrats' bill is a generation killer for our children and grandchildren. It will lead to a government takeover of health care that will raise taxes, increase health care costs, increase the federal deficit, ration care, and allow government bureaucrats to make decisions that should be made by patients and their doctors. The increase in taxes on small businesses will lead to a loss of more jobs and force more Americans out of their current health care plan and into a government-run plan.
"Currently, a Conference Committee composed of a small group of Democratic Senators and Representatives has begun negotiating a final Conference Agreement. These partisan discussions unfortunately are occurring behind closed doors. I, along with a united Republican Caucus, have expressed our strong support to a request by C-SPAN that these negotiations be open to the public through media coverage.
"Health care reform is too important, affects too much of our economy, and touches too many lives to be written in secret by a select few Democrats. The American people deserve openness, transparency and accountability -- not more secret partisan deals. Negotiations need to include Republicans and need to be televised and open to the press.
"I will continue to be an advocate for my constituents on this critically important legislation. I fought against the Democratic plan in the Energy and Commerce Committee and on the House Floor, and I will continue to oppose it through these final negotiations. Congressman Joe Barton and I worked together to amend the House bill -- with several nights' debates lasting past midnight. The Democrats have a 40-vote advantage in the House -- but we came within five votes of killing this bill when it passed the House Floor. I am the senior Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and will be doing battle again when the health bill gets back to the House Floor.
"We need health care reform, but the Democrats' radical plan is not the prescription for reform that the American people want or deserve."