Congressman David Dreier (R-CA), House Rules Committee Chairman, delivered the following opening statement today as he opened the debate on H.Res. 9, a resolution directing House committees to begin drafting real solutions to replace the flawed health care law.
"Today we begin the process of implementing true health care reform. This resolution, H.Res. 9, initiates the second step of a two-part process. Yesterday we took the first step, with the passage of H.R. 2, to repeal the President's health care bill. Having taken that action to wipe the slate clean, we are now moving on to the far more challenging task of crafting real solutions for the American people.
"This resolution instructs the four committees of jurisdiction to draft legislation that brings about meaningful health care reform. Furthermore, this resolution lays out 12 clear guidelines that define what true reform entails.
"Some of these guidelines are simply common sense principles, such as the need for reform that doesn't hurt job creation, or the need to eliminate duplicative, wasteful spending. But if there is one overarching principle for true reform, it's that we cannot pick winners and losers. Real reform must be accessible to all.
"If a family is forced to give up a health plan that is working for them, can we call that reform? If a small business must lay off employees to comply with new mandates, can we call that reform? If a doctor is forced to close her family practice because the cost of malpractice insurance is prohibitive, can we call that reform? If government bureaucrats make decisions that should be left to doctors and patients, can we call that reform?
"Our goal is to increase access to quality health care for every single American, including those with pre-existing conditions. H. Res. 9 puts us on a pathway to achieve that goal.
"As I said at the outset, this is a tremendous challenge. Achieving the goal of meaningful health care reform, which we all share, will demand an open and collaborative process. The four committees of jurisdiction have a great deal of work ahead of them. This is a process to which we all must contribute. Republicans and Democrats alike have good ideas. These ideas must be shared, and analyzed, and debated. If we all participate in an open and transparent process, I believe we can address the health care challenges we face in an effective and meaningful way.
"Ultimately, we all hope to arrive at the same place -- access to quality care for all. That is what House Republicans want to achieve. That is what my Democratic colleagues want to achieve. That is what President Obama wants to achieve.
"We all have our own views of how to get there. In this body alone we have 435 views on the best way to reform our health care system. We owe the American people nothing short of a rigorous and thorough debate. But if we conduct that debate in good faith, grounded in the recognition that we all hope to achieve the same outcome, I believe we can deliver on our promise of real solutions.
"The President said on Tuesday that he is "willing and eager" to work with Republicans on the issue of health care. That is a sentiment that I share wholeheartedly. H. Res. 9 allows us to begin this critically important process. I urge each of my colleagues to support this resolution."