The American people have much riding on the results of two major debates in the House of Representatives this summer. Over the next eight weeks, House Democrats have promised to rush through legislation on health care and global warming (known as “cap-and-trade”) that will devastating consequences for the American people – particularly the middle class, who have plenty at stake as we await the outcome of these debates.
House Republicans are responding with common sense proposals to reduce the skyrocketing cost of health care and promote a cleaner, healthier environment while lowering energy costs and creating jobs without raising taxes. Unfortunately, Democrats have taken a decidedly different tact – the go-it-alone approach that has become all too familiar to middle-class families.
Think about it: on every major issue addressed by Congress and the White House this year, the middle class has taken a hit. First there was the trillion-dollar “stimulus” spending bill, which no one even bothered to read. Just last week the Vice President admitted the American people are being “scammed” by it. That’s no consolation for middle-class families, however, who are now paying for those infamous AIG executive bonuses, checks for the deceased, highway studies instead of highway projects in my home state of Ohio, and a skateboard park in Rhode Island and bike racks in Washington, D.C.
The middle class – and their children and grandchildren – also is paying for a $400 billion “omnibus” spending bill loaded with 9,000 unscrutinized earmarks, passed just weeks after the “stimulus” became law. They’re paying to bail out those who lied on their mortgage applications, those who abused their credit cards, and those who made bad business decisions. They’re even paying for the Democrats’ budget that spends, taxes, and borrows too much, and which – as luck would have it – doesn’t include the middle class tax cut the President promised during the campaign.
And if Democrats get their way, by the end of this summer with their “cap-and-trade” scheme, families and small businesses will be paying a national energy tax on anyone who drives a car, buys an American-made product, or flips on a light switch. It sure looks like Americans are being scammed on far more than just the “stimulus.”
Time after time, the people who followed the rules are being left behind by Washington. And as the health debate comes into clearer view, I’m afraid Democrats may propose that we do health care reform in the same way. With more and more details becoming available, it is evident that the forthcoming plan from Democratic leaders will make health care more expensive, limit treatments and ration care, and put bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions rather than patients and doctors. More than 100 million Americans could be forced out of their current health care plan and onto the government rolls. It amounts to a government takeover of health care, and the middle class will get a raw deal once again.
Republicans believe there’s a better way, and we’re proposing better solutions on health care to show that we’re serious about it. Led by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), our Health Care Reform Solutions Group, which consists of broad cross-section of our House Republican Conference – from doctors to businessmen – is crafting a plan that will make health care more accessible and affordable without giving middle-class families and small businesses the short end of the stick.
Our alternative will expand access to affordable, quality care regardless of pre-existing conditions. It will protect Americans from being forced into a government-run plan, making certain that medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors, not Washington bureaucrats. It will let Americans who like their health care coverage keep it, while giving all Americans the freedom to choose the plan that best meets their needs. And it will promote effective prevention, wellness, and disease management programs, while developing new treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases. In other words, our plan will guarantee that Americans continue to receive the best care available anywhere in the world, and unlike the Democrats’ plan, it won’t raise taxes on families and small businesses to make it happen.
As this debate heats up with the summer temperatures, I hope Democrats take a long, hard look at the true impact of the policy decisions they’ve made this year. In nearly every case, the middle class has taken it on the chin – and yes, in the pocketbook. Health care is too essential an issue to let it happen again. Middle-class Americans deserve our best effort to achieve the best health care reforms that meet their needs.