By MARY FALLIN
On Sunday evening I proudly cast my "No' vote against the massive, expensive and intrusive health care bill rammed through the House by Speaker Pelosi and her liberal allies. This bill, if it ultimately becomes law, is the worst example of misguided public policy in decades.
My no vote was based on two truths: the bill violates the fundamental American principles of individual and economic liberty, and it was overwhelmingly opposed by my Oklahoma constituents.
Before the vote, I joined thousands of ordinary Americans outside the nation's Capitol as they expressed their opposition to both the bill and the sordid process that brought it to the House floor. These Americans are angry and worried.
They are angry that Congress was spending time on a federal takeover of health care when so many other matters demand our time -- matters like jobs and prosperity. They are worried over the terrible impact of this bill on their lives, their families and their health.
The bill will cost more than one trillion dollars in the first decade, and uncounted trillions in the years that follow.
It will violate the Constitution by ordering individuals and businesses to purchase federally approved insurance -- and fine or even jail them if they fail to comply.
It will recruit some 17,000 more IRS agents to come to Oklahoma and other states to enforce those requirements.
It permits the use of taxpayer funds for abortions -- despite veiled, and unenforceable, assurances to the contrary.
It will dramatically expand the already strapped Medicaid program, imposing even more red ink on state budgets, while gutting Medicare, a fiscal shell game that will balloon the deficit and reduce the quality and availability of health care. For Oklahoma, this expansion will amount to a $500 million unfunded mandate by 2020.
It will create dozens of new federal agencies, including one that will assess medical treatments and procedures and decide what treatments and procedures you and your doctor can agree on. Under this bill, the federal government presumes to decide life and death matters for every American.
Most of all, this bill will effectively complete the federal takeover of one-sixth of our national economy. Government-approved insurance brings government regulations and controls.
Proponents of the bill claimed that those of us who opposed it had no alternatives. That is untrue. I repeatedly joined in calling for real health care reforms, like allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines and implementing real tort reforms that would cut costs related to defensive medicine.
Now the House-passed reconciliation bill will return to the Senate. Many states, including Oklahoma, are planning legal and legislative challenges to its unconstitutional provisions. The battle is not over.
In my two decades in public service as an advocate of the core conservative principle of limited government, I have never been prouder of a vote. I will continue this battle on behalf of the people I serve.