This morning at a lumber yard in Sterling, VA, House Republicans unveiled a new governing agenda -- The Pledge to America -- which follows a months-long conversation with the American People about their priorities and objectives for their federal government.
The Pledge to America, available at http://pledge.gop.gov, sets forth bold strategies to create jobs, cut spending and shrink the federal debt, defend the United States, honor traditional American values, and lower health costs.
At today's announcement, Louisiana Congressman Bill Cassidy outlined Republican proposals to defund, repeal, and replace the recently-enacted health care law with patient-centered reform that lowers costs and expands access to quality care. Video and transcript of Cassidy's remarks are below.
Two years ago, the Democratic Majority said they were going to put up a health care reform bill which would lower costs, expand access to quality health care, and those are actually goals that Democrats, Republicans and Independents can all agree upon.
Now, unfortunately, the bill that was signed six months ago ultimately will not achieve those goals.
You know, I say that from the perspective of a practicing -- I still practice medicine -- and I've worked, for the last twenty years, I've worked in a public hospital caring for the uninsured. My life's work has been making sure that those without otherwise receive health care.
Now, I can tell you, working in a public hospital, politicians consistently overpromise and underfund, and it's so easy to say we're going to give you something, but when that something is more than you have funds for, inevitably, access and quality suffer.
If you don't first control costs, ultimately none of the goals is met. Now, this bill, unfortunately, does not control costs.
Now I could cite the kind of studies that have been released since the bill was put out -- a fair reading of which would suggest that it increases our long-term deficit, despite $500 billion in taxes.
But let's just look in the last six months. In the last six months, we've seen greater than ten percent increases in the premiums for small businesses, and the regulatory compliance burden of 1099 forms. Now, the 1099 form actually is not officially a health care cost, but it's inherent in the bill, and in that bill, the energy and income placed with 1099 compliance takes away from job creation.
The American people don't want this. When you talk to the American people, they don't want the federal government telling a small businesswoman she's got to do a 1099. They don't want the federal government meddling in their personal lives in a way it never has before with the individual mandate. They don't want the $500 billion in new taxes and the over 150 boards, bureaucracies, and commissions required to implement this.
What the American people have told us that they want is that we de-fund, repeal, and replace.
What do we replace it with? Well, we've got reforms that we believe will lower costs.
Start off with real tort reform. Real tort reform, in a manner that the Congressional Budget Office says will decrease costs by $54 billion over the next ten years.
Lower costs for the purchaser of insurance by allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines - make these big insurance companies with market concentration compete against one another for the benefit of the small businesswoman or the individual purchaser of insurance.
To strengthen the patient-physician relationship by, among other things, increasing the use and usefulness of health savings accounts -- health savings accounts that put the patient firmly in control of her health care dollar, and, in so doing, allows her to make the decisions that are important for her health, but also for her finances.
We will ensure access to affordable health care for those with pre-existing conditions.
And lastly, we will join with 70 percent of the American people that desire to ban federal funding for abortions.
That health care bill was signed six months ago, but the need for real health care reform is even more urgent now. It's urgent for the family and the small business paying premiums; it's urgent for the American taxpayer facing these huge increases in taxes; and it's urgent for the uninsured, like those who I've had the privilege to treat for the last 20 years.
Now, House Republicans have listened, we have heard, and we shall do our best to implement true health care reform that lowers costs and expands access to high quality care. Those are goals we can all agree upon.