September 9th, 2009
09:43 PM ET
13 years ago

Republican legislator calls for bipartisan health-care plan

WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany urged Congress to pass a health-care plan by "working together in a bipartisan way" in remarks delivered after President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday.

"Republicans are pleased that President Obama came to the Capitol tonight," the Louisiana lawmaker said as he delivered the Republican response.

"We agree much needs to be done to lower the cost of health care for all Americans. On that goal, Republicans are ready - and we've been ready - to work with the President for common-sense reforms that our nation can afford."

"Most Americans wanted to hear the president tell Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the rest of Congress that it's time to start over on a common-sense, bipartisan plan focused on lowering the cost of health care while improving quality," he said.

Boustany, a cardiothoracic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience, slammed the president for leaving a much-diminished role for a public option on the table.

"The president had a chance tonight to take the government-run health care off the table," he said. "Unfortunately he didn't do it."

Obama's plan includes a public option in a health-care exchange for people whose employers do not provide health-care coverage and who cannot afford to buy it on their own.

The Louisiana congressman - who has said he has "questions" about whether the president was born in the United States - offered four "ideas" that he said were supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

Boustany said all Americans "should have access to health care coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions," that "individuals, small businesses and other groups should be able to join together" for lower costs, that the government "can provide assistance" to those who can't afford insurance and that insurance companies should offer incentives for better living.

The president included the first three of Boustany's ideas in his plan.

Boustany said Republicans were "grateful" that Obama included medical malpractice reform in his remarks, and he said that the president should also consider allowing individuals and families to purchase insurance across state lines.

He referred listeners to a Web site for more information and said the Republican proposals could be achieved "without destroying jobs, rationing care or taking away the freedoms that Americans cherish."

"Working together in a bipartisan way, we can truly lower the cost of health care while improving its quality," he said.

Earlier, Boustany told CNN that Obama's health-care reform bill - which has not actually been written as a bill - has "unanswered questions" and is "unacceptable."

He shrugged aside a statement from the American Medical Association urging Obama and Congress "to reach agreement this year on health system reforms."

"There are a number of problems with this bill and it's unacceptable. Keep in mind that the AMA only represents around 15 percent of physicians and a number of state medical societies have actually taken positions opposite the AMA," Boustany said.

On its Web site, the AMA describes itself as the largest medical association of physicians in the nation.

"Frankly, there really have not been any discussions between the White House and House Republicans, and that's of some concern to me. I'm quite frustrated, to be frank," the congressman said.

The Obama administration has held numerous meetings with Republicans and Democrats on health care issues, although as the action moved to Congress, meetings with White House officials decreased while Congressional meetings

Boustany said he agrees with many elements of the president's health-care
proposal, including his call for a bipartisan approach and medical insurance
"We do believe that we have to provide a system that creates access to a
doctor/patient relationship first and foremost for all Americans," he said.
Serving his third term in office, Boustany represents the state's 7th
Congressional District, covering part of Acadiana in southwestern Louisiana. He
is the only Republican doctor on the House Ways and Means Committee, which, he
notes, has "jurisdiction over tax, trade, health care and entitlement policy."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    Just a little FYI, but Boustany was sued for malpractice three times, and he's also a Birther. Does the GOP know what the word "vetting" means?

    September 10, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  2. ~~ July~~ ( working hard to make TX BLUE )

    Bla bla bla ........ bla!!

    Sweetie after the AMAZING speech the PRESIDENT gave the COUNTRY .... you must really go and ride away LORD Boustany jajajaaa. You suck and those long pauses and deep breathes cuz you couldn't wait to finish your hhmmm speech ... sad ... very sad

    September 10, 2009 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  3. LVCami

    I was having a Jindal flashback. 🙂

    September 10, 2009 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  4. oknfl

    The GOP is not interested in Health care reform... they are only interested in President Obama failing. I believe they called it his "waterloo". They have proved themselves to be obstuctionists.

    September 10, 2009 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  5. More Scare Tactics

    No matter how he GOP spins the plan President Obama spelled out tonight, 5% of Americans participating in a Publicly run insurance option is hardly a government takeover of the Health Insurance Industry. Furthermore, the program is to be funded by premiums just like a regular insurance company, without government subsidies. I don't see how a Public Option that offers basic Health Care can unseat companies offering Deluxe Plans for people with a lot of $$$ to throw around.

    September 10, 2009 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  6. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their follishness.

    Yeah well are you going to honestly work together? I saw the looks on GOP's faces and it was looks of hatred.

    September 10, 2009 02:33 am at 2:33 am |

    I have no idea whats wrong with the "public option". Could someone please explain.

    September 10, 2009 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  8. Coherent1

    Most Republican American's was expecting a do-over, Mr. Boustany. The rest, I believe wanted clarification and a push-back against the lies and false focuses your party created. Get on board, sir. The American people deserves health care, without being measured by the dollar bill. They were once the unborn you claim to protect.

    September 10, 2009 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
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