March 6th, 2010
04:01 PM ET
8 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

"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. Willy Brown

    Need to stop the take over by the Obama Chicago Machine of America.

    March 6, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. Dawn Ada, Oh

    NO you got it wrong: THE GOP NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!!!

    March 6, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Mark

    This goon ran on the Democratic ticket in 2008 stating he supported Health Care Reform and wanted a government run public option.

    Fraud and liar.

    March 6, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. JLM

    He must be afraid he's going to lose his Insurance Co, donations.

    March 6, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. CHIPS

    This health bill is not going to start over. If you Reps. knew how to run the country so much better we wouldn't be in this mess. You just hate to see somebody clean up your mess that would really make the reps. look bad.

    You need to just step aside and let progress happen. We are going to do it with you or without you idiots. Just because you keep repeating the same lies over and over again don't mean everybody is going to believe you. People are seeing straight threw your lies. It is beyond me how you people can continue to get in front of the American people with your lies and a straight face. When you do, all I see is red horn coming out of the top of your heads. Come Nov. you will be down to 20 in the Sen. and 90 in the house.

    March 6, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. Fed Up

    Have the Republican offered a Health Care Reform Bill other than stay healthy and if you don't, die quickly? Or their Holy Grail of tort reform, so the big companies aren't punished for screwing up and making sick people worse, or killing them outright.

    March 6, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Charlie in Maine

    Dear GOP,

    If reconcilliation was good enough for you to use it to deliver GW Bush's tax cuts and give away the budget surplus (remember that?) Then why can't we use it to do something that wil actually help people. All the people instead of just the top10%?

    PS With regard to the stimulus package where was all this fake concern abou the deficit when the GOP thought it would be a good idea to spend 12million$ an hour occupying a country that never attacked us??

    Before you condem the Democrats for using the same thing youu did( with a better purpose) do some soul-seacrching.

    March 6, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Repugnants are Taliban

    This man is a liar and turn coat and we are supposed to believe him
    ? He certainly has taken to the Repugliban talking points, must have gotten a massive campaign fund from the insurance companies to turn against the average American citizen the way he has. Best part of it is he won't be here long, both Republicans and Democrats in his home district want him gone and made to get a 'real' job which he is afraid of more than anything, one would think the man doesn't know how to work for crying out loud with all the crying and jumping ship he does.

    March 6, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. ib

    Cuts to medicare; rationed healthcare for seniors sooner than later and adding to the defecit not cutting it yes this stupid bill must be stopped.

    March 6, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. phoenix86

    This "healthcare / health insurance" bill will be the defning moment in US history. Once passed, it will be remembered as the event that led to the end of the US as an economic power and when the end of the US experiment in democracy became inevitable.

    March 6, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Stop the Obama tyranny!

    A government mandate that all citizens purchase insurance - and then makes them criminals if they do not - is tyranny. It stands against everything we believe in. Stop this tyranny NOW!

    March 6, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. John

    New GOP lawmaker: Health bill 'must be stopped'

    This ad brought to you by: Republicans Against Affordable Health Care.

    March 6, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    Most Americans... the ones with common sense and a basic working knowledge of economics... DO NOT WANT this plan. It MUST be stopped before it takes root.

    Attack REAL reform.... costs which derive mainly from ambulance chasing lawyers.

    March 6, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Dis Gusted

    As it has already been noted frequently, that "toxic, controversial legislative scheme known as 'reconciliation' " has been used many times before, and by "guess who" has used it most? My throat hasn't healed yet by all those reconciliation bills "rammed down my throat" by eight years of the last administration. The Repubs keep their talking points going..."the American people do not want this bill; they want to start over (with a Repub bill)." I'm assuming they are going by "polls" taken. Well polls can be slanted. No one I have conversed with about the healthcare reform bill has said they do not want this bill passed. To the contrary, the bill will help more than it hinders. Repubs should just chill.

    March 6, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Ex-Republican

    Way to go, Democrats! Pass the bill, and stop this BS from republicans!

    March 6, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. joe m

    the politicians, as usual, lost sight of the goal and went back to what they do and like to do best, play politics. the bill that is being pushed is an idealogicaly driven legislation, the intent of which is defined more by its social imperitive, rather than practical results. on the other hand, the objections and obstruction leveled by the other side is no less an idealogical imperitive. in all this, the looser are the american people. instead of simply resolving a pressing issue that is becoming a greater burden to many american families, we will instead get a bill that extends the reach of government or no relief at all to the broken system we suffer under. washington is filled with politicians and not enough statesmen. since time immemorial politicians learned that pandering to their base was best for their own career, while statesmen understood that making difficult choices was a sure way to possibly the end of their careers, but benefits the greater good. if we are to start solving the multitude of problems we now face, we, as voters, must start helping real statesmen into the halls of power, and usher out the politicians; preferably right into the gutter, which is where they probably deserve to be.

    March 6, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Jeremiah the Prophet

    Why won't these fools jsut come to grips with the fact that they've been defeated in elections, stop spreading fear and lies, and get to the business of governing? Many Right Wing/Conservative/Republican ideas are contained in the bill, and they still won't support. Bi-partisanship is not getting the other idea to go along with yours thereby abandoning theirs. It's about compromising and taking the best from both sides and bringing them together. You silly Americans keep voting in these stupid politicians and this is what we get.

    March 6, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Bill from GA

    If the Health Care Bill were so bad, and unpopular with American voters, the Repugs would love it, as it would insure a turnover in political power in November. Yet they fight it tooth and nail.

    Let the Dems pass it. It's not perfect, or even really good. It may be better than nothing, maybe not. The voters will decide in November if we like what the Dems have done with 2 years of (semi-) control of Congress. We know what the Repugs did with their 6 years of near-total control; needless war, loss of freedom, and economic ruin (except for the very rich).

    March 6, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. Betty Peterson

    I wish the truth meter could measure all this man's words, which include many untruths and mischaracterizations. History will record these lies and it will become known what this party is doing to prevent our most vulnerable and middle class citizens from getting healthcare. Reconciliation is no more a shady tactic than is filibuster. Our founding fathers certainly did not intend the filibuster to be used to block the majority from passing laws. Reconciliation is a mechanism which gives Senators the right to have the majority decide important issues - and health care legislation will slow the cost of health care and spread the burden among all citizens instead of just the sick - everyone, for once, will have to have it, the same as car insurance. Can you imagine how high car insurance would be if only the people who thought they needed it would be required to purchase it?

    March 6, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. ddt

    This guy is misinformed he should resign completely from politics. I don't think changing from Dem to Rep gives him any credit, he is simply making a fool of himself.

    March 6, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. if I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    The bill has been passed in the senate with 60 votes. I do commend the republicans for trying to incite their base that lacks normal intelligence, but they are doing our country a terrible disservice. If this bill were truly going to spell doom for the democrats in future elections, the GOP would sit back and watch, and say nothing. But, they no if health reform is passed, the GOP will, once again, be on the wrong side of history.

    March 6, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. John

    Now here is a man to trust, Right. A true Benadict Arnold. Why is it that the Republican party goes after this type person and enlists their help. Just like the British in 1776, they will do anything-even shady to get their way. Shameful. Problem is that history always proves them wrong, when the right thing to do is accomplished. When they win, somewhere down the road we have to go back and correct their mistake. Why not do the right thing now and end the pain. How much money is going into their coffers from the health industry? a lot . And they make it back off of yours.

    March 6, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. CAW in MD

    Why should we listen to a man who didn't have the courage of his convictions, and took the easy way out to preserve his political hide? Don't get me wrong - since that basically sums up the Republican party these days, he seems to have landed in the right place. But that doesn't mean that he, or they, have anything I care to listen to, especially about health care.

    Republicans wanted to reduce Medicare - until it looked like a winning political issue to talk about saving it. They preach fiscal responsibility - except when they actually have the power to do something about it. Even with health care, they don't want to bend the cost curve (i.e. the cost of health care to the American budget) - they want to pander to the American public by reducing premiums (i.e. the cost of health care to individuals), which would exacerbate the cost of health care overall.

    As for reconciliation, that's what they used to get Bush's budget killing tax cuts passed. So much for the "toxic, controversial legislative scheme". Must be fine when Republicans do it, but not fine when Democrats do it.

    Nobody calls Republicans on the sheer hypocrisy of their positions. A responsible media would do that, but apparently there is no such thing anymore.

    March 6, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. Annie, Atlanta

    Of course he thinks the health care bill must be stopped. All Republicans do, even those that recently changed affiliation. They're working for the health insurance industry, getting paid to stop it. I'd like to know why bribery is legal in the halls of Congress.

    The problem is, we need health care reform and the Senate Bill along with President Obama's fixes will be a start in the right direction. We're getting crushed out here and Republicans and Blue Dog Dems don't care. They have their's. And with this plan of action, just say no, they hope to have more of their's in the future. And nearly half of us are too stupid to see this for what it is.

    March 6, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. if I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    I am tired of the republicans and right wingnuts who post that this is the end of the US as an economic power. We already have been put in a fragile situation with unnecessary wars and Bush's unfunded socialist programs. (drug and bank bailout)

    March 6, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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