U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement regarding a letter President Obama sent to congressional leaders signaling his interest in incorporating additional bipartisan ideas into health care reform.
"I'm pleased the president has apparently broken with congressional leaders in his own party who spent the last year claiming Republicans had no ideas and were solely motivated by politics. His letter indicates that Republicans have been working in good faith on health care reform for many years. I look forward to continuing the dialogue we started during last week's summit," Dr. Coburn said.
"Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi now have a choice. They can continue to work with Republicans on the areas of agreement the president outlined and produce real health care reform for the American people. Or, they can attempt an all-or-nothing reconciliation strategy based on the deeply flawed Senate and House bills and most likely accomplish nothing.
"The White House and congressional leaders would be wise to follow the advice of Warren Buffet and pursue a Plan C that addresses the core problem in health care, which is cost. Studies have shown that one in three health care dollars does nothing to help people get well or prevent them from getting sick. Congress could pass a bill that addressed fraud and defensive medicine -- two of the biggest cost drivers in health care -- and lower costs and improve access tomorrow.
"Although the president said at the summit that future elections may decide the direction of health care reform, it is important for the majority to acknowledge the reality that the public has already rendered its judgment in polls, elections and town hall meetings. By an overwhelming margin, the American people want Congress to abandon the Senate and House bills that will bankrupt our country, fund abortion and ration care and instead start over.
"The ideas the president highlighted today are a path forward. However, merely incorporating these ideas into the deeply flawed House and Senate bills will not bring us any closer to real reform. I hope the White House and congressional leaders build on the progress we have made and not undermine it with a divisive bill and strategy the American people have already rejected," Dr. Coburn said.