Americans want Washington to scrap this job-killing government takeover of health care and start over with a step-by-step approach that will lower health care costs.
Republicans have offered a commonsense plan squarely focused on lowering costs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that it will lower premiums for families and small businesses by as much as 10 percent. All the details are available at HealthCare.GOP.gov.
For his part, President Obama comes to the table with the same massive government takeover of health care that the American people have already rejected. In effect, the president's proposal actually takes the 2,733-page bill that the Senate passed on Christmas Eve and manages to make it worse. Even more Medicare cuts. Even more tax hikes. Plenty of special-interest deals still in place. A trillion-dollar price tag.
This latest Democrats-only backroom deal snuffed out any chance that this summit could serve as the starting point for a bipartisan consensus. Democrats are instead hoping that this media event can be the gateway to a final push that involves circumventing the will of the people and jamming a bill through using parliamentary tricks.
This is the same arrogance and overreaching that the American people are so fed up with. It's why Massachusetts happened. It's why Americans waited for hours in the August heat to get into town hall meetings and make sure their voices were heard.
Indeed, we've been here before. Shortly after Labor Day, the president gave an address to Congress designed to resuscitate his proposed government takeover of health care. That speech was followed by an all-out media blitz. It was described as a "last-ditch effort," "an opportunity to take back the initiative." Nearly six months later, still no health care bill has been signed into law, tens of thousands more have lost their jobs and unemployment is still near 10 percent.
All this uncertainty is hurting small businesses, the engine of job creation in our country, while Americans are rightly asking: "Where are the jobs?"
The president's health care media blitz was based on the notion that the more the American people learn about his plan, the more they would come to like it. Now that just the opposite has occurred, the president has chosen to limit participation in the Thursday summit to administration officials and congressional leaders. America's governors and state legislatures have been excluded. Their perspective from the front lines about the damage this massive government takeover of health care would do to cash-strapped states is apparently not welcome. That's greatly disappointing, considering that measures have been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures opting out of a federal takeover of health care.
Also excluded from today's summit is Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., co-author of a House-passed amendment barring federal funding of abortion. The Stupak-Pitts amendment -- which reflects the will of the American people on the issue of federal funding of abortion -- is supported by a bipartisan majority in the House, but was excluded from the president's proposal. Pro-life Democrats in the House have already pledged to vote against this provision. Health care reform should be an opportunity to protect human life -- not end it. This fundamental issue isn't even listed as a topic for discussion at the summit.
The president can hold all the summits he wants, but the toothpaste is out of the tube: The American people don't want this massive government takeover of health care. No summit or speech or sales pitch can fix a fundamentally flawed 2,000-plus-page health care bill that spends money we don't have and kills the jobs we need to get our economy moving again.
Let's listen to the American people and let's start over.
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is the minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
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