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Public Statements


Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Madam Speaker, we all have heard the promise over and over again:

If you like what you have, you can keep it.

It is probably the most often repeated promise since Barack Obama has been President. For 5 years now, that promise has been made, and unfortunately, now millions of Americans are realizing that that promise has been broken over and over again. Over 100,000 Louisiana families are seeing that broken promise.

In fact, we had a social media site called Share with Steve where we asked people in Louisiana's First Congressional District to share their stories with me, and the stories that I have heard have been compelling and heartbreaking. In fact, I started sharing some of those stories with the Secretary of Health and Human Services. When Secretary Sebelius was before us in the House Energy and Commerce Committee just a little over a week ago, I shared some of those stories with her.

One of those stories was Shaun from Covington, and I read Shaun's story of the health care that he has now lost for his family because of the President's health care law. Of course, you have got Secretary Sebelius who is running the President's health care law and all of these broken promises that we are hearing about. I said, What would you tell Shaun, Madam Secretary, who has now lost the good health care he has for his family when you promised him that he would be able to keep that health care?

Unfortunately, all we got was a smug response from a bureaucrat in Washington, and her response to Shaun was, Well, you can just go shop around in the health care exchange.

Well, first of all, that is not the promise that she and the President made to Shaun. The President promised Shaun he could keep his health care if he liked it. And Shaun likes his health care and doesn't want to lose it and, even more, doesn't want to have to go to some Web site that doesn't even work to go buy a plan that his family doesn't need. What Shaun conveyed to me after that interaction with the Secretary was that what he is being presented now are options that are even more expensive and don't include the kind of coverage that his family wants.

So I think what is most insulting to Americans is not only now that they are losing that health care, that President Obama broke that promise, that sacred promise between a doctor and a patient, but now you are hearing this elitist Washington politician response where you have got these bureaucrats and politicians in Washington telling people like Shaun, We didn't think your plan was good enough.

So not only have they broken the promise, but now they are deciding what they think is good enough for a patient and their doctor. And so a family in a place like Covington, Louisiana, that I represent, or all around the country, that had good health insurance, that liked the plan that they had, is being told not only that they can't keep it, but that some Washington bureaucrat didn't think their plan was good enough, even though they thought their plan was good enough.

So this is what is wrong with government-run health care. This is why we fought this bill back in 2009 when it was going through the Energy and Commerce Committee and here on the House floor when you had then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying you have got to pass the bill to find out what is in it. Of course American families are now seeing what is in it, and they don't like what they are seeing in this bill.

Later this week, we are bringing up a bill on the House floor that I am proud to cosponsor that allows you to keep the plan that you have if you like it. Of course, the President's promise really should have been if Barack Obama likes your plan you can keep it, because that is the only way you can keep your plan is if the Federal Government approves of it even if you like it and you lose it.

What we are also seeing, of course, over on the Senate side, and even here on the House floor, many people who voted for the President's health care law are acting as if they had no idea this was going to happen. Of course they knew this was going to happen. If you read the bill, you could tell that people would lose the good health care they liked. There were reports coming out in 2010 that said millions of Americans will lose the health care they like, and yet now you have Senators over there and even some House Members who voted for the President's health care law acting like they had no idea this was going to come to pass. Of course they knew that millions of Americans would lose the good health care that they like. They just didn't think maybe that people would realize that it was the President's health care law that caused it and hold them accountable. And so now people are starting to be held accountable, as they should.

But, Madam Speaker, there is a better way. In fact, I am proud to have led an effort to bring forward the American Health Care Reform Act, a true alternative to the President's health care law that actually starts addressing the problems to lower costs, to allow people to keep the good health care plans that they like, and to give people real options.

In fact, our bill has over 100 cosponsors now, including medical doctors who serve in Congress who helped draft this bill, who understand that the doctor-patient relationship should continue to be maintained and be that sacred relationship that it used to always be before the government started coming in between people's health care, before IRS agents started coming in between people's health care.

So this bill allows people to buy insurance across State lines, giving people real flexibility, real choice, real competition in health care, where people will be competing for your business to dramatically lower costs, to allow people to have the option to buy their own health care instead of going through their company, and they will be able to have the same tax benefits that a company gets. So if they buy a health care plan on their own that is better than what their employer provides, they will be able to deduct that cost, which they can't do today. It allows small businesses and even individuals to pool together and get the buying power of a large corporation. This is the way we should be doing this, Madam Speaker, not this government-run approach.

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