Washington (CNN) - Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama, delivering the weekly Republican address Saturday, said Democrats "must be stopped" before they "try and jam through a massive government takeover of health care."
Griffith, who spent many years practicing medicine before being elected to Congress, started the 111th Congress as a Democrat but announced in December that he was switching parties and would run for re-election as a Republican.
Griffith addressed the switch in the address. "You see, two Januarys ago, I was sworn into office as an independent, conservative Democrat. But like so many Americans, I became increasingly concerned that the policies being pushed by Democrats in Washington were dangerous for our country and out of step with our values."
The address also includes a warning about the route that Republicans anticipate Democrats will take to ensure passage of health care reform.
"To get a final bill through without public or bipartisan support, Democrats would have to use a toxic, controversial legislative scheme known as 'reconciliation.' Reconciliation would allow Democrats to make a few last-minute backroom deals and rely on only Democratic votes."
Next week, Griffith with host a fundraiser in Huntsville, where the guest star will be House Minority Leader John Boehner.
Read the entire address below:
"Hello, I'm Dr. Parker Griffith, and I have the great privilege to represent Alabama's Fifth Congressional District.
"In the next 10 days, Democrats in Washington will try and jam through a massive government takeover of health care. It would raise taxes, slash Medicare benefits and destroy American jobs. It would put federal bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions that should be made by patients and doctors. And it must be stopped.
"The American people have said loudly and clearly that they do not want this job-killing government takeover of care. They want us to start over with a clean sheet of paper and a step-by-step approach focused on lowering costs for families and small businesses.
"But President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refuse to listen to the American people. For them, health care reform has become less about the best reforms and more about what best fits their 'Washington knows best' mentality – less about helping patients and more about scoring political points.
"This is no idle observation. I've witnessed it firsthand.
"You see, two Januarys ago, I was sworn into office as an independent, conservative Democrat. But like so many Americans, I became increasingly concerned that the policies being pushed by Democrats in Washington were dangerous for our country and out of step with our values.
"Instead of working across the aisle and focusing on creating jobs, Democratic leaders pressed ahead with their partisan, big-government agenda of taxing, spending, and borrowing from our children and grandchildren. The trillion-dollar 'stimulus,' the 'cap-and-trade' national energy tax, I voted against them.
"Still, even as Democrats lost their way, I held out hope that things would be different with health care reform, but I was wrong.
"Even as public opposition continued to rise, Democrats refused to let up, stuffing these bills with sweetheart deals for lawmakers and giveaways to Washington special interests.
"Given all that's at stake, I realized that being a voice of dissent and a vote of conscience was not enough. Shortly before Christmas, after much thought and prayer, I decided to align myself with House Republicans, who have stood on principle to fight this big-government agenda and offer better solutions to the challenges facing our country.
"Republicans understand that the right way to fix health care is with a step-by-step approach focused on lowering costs. Only Republicans have proposed the kind of health care reforms we can afford during this economic downturn, like allowing small businesses to group together to purchase health care plans at reasonable costs just as unions do.
"The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that the Republican bill would lower premiums for families and small businesses by up to 10 percent. All of the details are available at HealthCare.GOP.gov.
"You know, before coming to Congress, I spent 30 years practicing medicine in North Alabama. The worst thing we could do is have the federal government decide what policies and what procedures would be done in hospitals or in physicians' offices, what would be paid for, what would not be paid for. This will only cause premiums to rise and the quality of care to go down.
"I've also run a small business, and I can tell you that health care costs have everything to do with the ability to maintain a payroll and hire new workers. The mere threat of this health care bill being enacted is freezing employers in their tracks and destroying much needed jobs.
"To get a final bill through without public or bipartisan support, Democrats would have to use a toxic, controversial legislative scheme known as 'reconciliation.' Reconciliation would allow Democrats to make a few last-minute backroom deals and rely on only Democratic votes.
"Reconciliation is by no means a cure-all that would permit drastic changes to improve the bill. For instance, reconciliation would not address the loophole in the Senate-passed health care bill that would lead to taxpayer funding of abortion for the first time in more than 30 years. If Speaker Pelosi has her way, the loophole will become law as is, so the final battle will be here in the House of Representatives.
"My fellow Americans, it's not too late: we can, and we must, stop this government takeover of health care. Make your voice heard now. America deserves better.
"And thank you, thank you for listening."