March 6th, 2010
04:01 PM ET
4 years ago

New GOP lawmaker: Health bill 'must be stopped'

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."


Filed under: GOP • Health care • Parker Griffith • Popular Posts
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. jules sand-perkins

    Rep. Griffith is completely correct.
    Washington does not have better information about Americans' desires and wills than Americans themselves have.
    President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and friends know only what THEY want for their own reasons. The President's desires certainly do not reflect mine.
    If Mr. Obama–we've already established his title now, "Mr." for variety, idiots–had revealed his true agenda before his election, he would not be the president.

    March 6, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Kevin in Ohio. You're right. Most Americans don't want this bill. Polls show that most Americans want a public option. But this, at least, is a start in the right direction. If we listen to only one side, the side that is lying to us, we start believing them. For all of us out here that are self insured, we're getting crushed, paying huge premiums, huge deductibles, for crappy coverage. Something has to change. If you're covered by your employer, good for you, but that will change too. 11 insurance companies in the last few weeks raised rates between 20 and 75%. How long can we maintain that kind of corporate greed? And just as important, how long can employers maintain it? Because it will continue. These companies have a monopoly over our health.

    March 6, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Sue

    The Republicans have the support of the majority of US citizens who do NOT want any version of Obamacare.

    Poll after poll has indicated.........The majority in the country does NOT want the public option.

    Poll after poll has indicated--the majority does NOT want any version of Obamacare.

    Poll after poll has indicated--the majority wants the current house/senate bills thrown out---and they want them to start all over again with transparent, bipartisan approaches/solutions.

    March 6, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Kevin in Ohio

    @Bill from GA....

    Yeah, why not let the health bill pass? Then Republicans will surely gain control!

    Well, Bill, its about our future, not the next election. Passage of this bill will accelerate the economic slide toward irrecoverable debt and put us under the total control of creditors like China. The more and more I hear, the more and more I am convinced that liberals would not mind that at all..... communist control.

    March 6, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. usualone

    I suppose the reconcilliation was not "toxic" when the Republicans used it - and they used it more often than the Democrats have to date. They always use fear words in their mantras. Sad party those Republicans.

    March 6, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. double standard

    The GOP has tried to stop this for 14 months now and they can't do it..
    I would say go lay down GOP,time to get over it !!

    March 6, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Chuck

    What we Americans need is a health system on par with Canada and Sweden. It is time that those in Washington realize this and get on with it.

    March 6, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    Hey conservatives! Do you never look at your health care bills?!?!?!?! Do you really love giving tens of thousands of dollars to insurance companies?

    You are actively helping the same insurance companies who massively rip you off. Rubes! Yokels!

    And if you don't like government involvement, well, make sure you decline all your Medicare and Social Security benefits, because they are socialism too by your own definition. But of course, you won't do that.

    March 6, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Kate

    1) This bill sucks. It removes all incentive to seek value rather than the max. number of services. MA already had it and they have the HIGHEST insurance premiums in the country. We all want hcr but this bill doesn't help bring down costs. It was tried and it failed. 2) The CBO just revised the Obama deficit even higher. They are likely wrong on the estimates for HCR and the assumptions baked into it are ridiculous. Do you honesty believe Congress will vote to cut spending in 8 years?

    March 6, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. greenfish

    The inflammatory language of the republican party would be laughable if it weren't so scary. The health bill IS NOT A GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTHCARE. It is flawed bill (likely), but the best we can do for the moment. PASS THIS BILL AND LET'S MOVE ON.

    Oh yes, and please remember that reconcilation was a wonderful tactic when it led to the Bush tax cuts for the super rich. The right wing is SO HYPOCRITICAL.

    March 6, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. alien

    I know doctors who are worried that they may soon be out of business. All this talk about Medicare cutting doctors' fees by 21% and on top of it all, promoting value added health care with an eye on having the public practice preventative health care such as exercise and weight management has a few doctors concerned about the future of their business.

    March 6, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. RB

    Most AMERICAN "DO NOT WANT HEALTH CARE REFORM" is ridiculous!
    They only sample 1064 people yet there are over 30 MILLION uninsured in this country?? Wake up people and stop being USED. My health care premiums just increased 45% over 2009........w/o REFORM insurance companies from the WALL street mentality of PROFITS with selective coverage we are the the thirty eighth ranking country in the WORLD.SHAMEFUL!!!!

    March 6, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. wait a minute

    GOP must be stopped from helping the insurance-medical industry complex rob the American people longer.

    March 6, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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