September 9th, 2009
09:43 PM ET
14 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. patrick

    There are many Doctors out there that are not against the public option.

    September 9, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. Scott L

    Down goes Frasier! Down goes Frasier! Down goes Frasier!

    September 9, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    He's had several malpractice suits against him.

    Tried to BUY the title of "LORD" from a British scam artist.

    No credibility. How much has he taken from the Insurance Companies?

    September 9, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. Jose

    I was hoping for Bobby Jindal again so that we could get a good laugh.

    We still got a good laugh.

    September 9, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  5. vic nashville , Tn

    Too late

    September 9, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. HomerJay

    Um, news lost. I don't recall worrying about bipartisan solutions when you controlled the White House and Congress.

    September 9, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  7. Frankie

    He must have written most of this way ahead of time. WEAK!!!, just a little bit better than Bobbie Jindal. At least he was not so Mr. Rogers-ish.

    September 9, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  8. Tammy

    Does his face move?

    September 9, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  9. Larry

    SUDDENLY ... a Republican wants to practice Bipartisanship ???

    What a bunch of HYPOCRITES

    THE PARTY OF NO ... truth

    September 9, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  10. Georgia

    Since Boustany is "a cardiothoracic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience" – can you imagine how many millions he has made with this current health care system?

    September 9, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  11. Tasha

    The only way the health care issue will be solved is by both parties working as one for the good of the American people. The health care issue has been debated for long enough and its time for action. President Obama now has the chance to see that all Americans can seek medical care the time is now and we can not continue to wait on this issue.

    September 9, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. Piper

    Did he even read/listen to the speech????? If he did, he certainly did not hear it the way I did.

    Can't believe he would go on and dispute Obama on issues Obama made clear in his speech. Hope he gets called on the carpet.

    September 9, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. kinogirl

    Why would the Republicans choose someone who has been sued three times and is a birther believer to respond. How can republican respond when we saw some of them texing during the speech. They weren't even listening. So why should the president be bipartisan.

    September 9, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  14. YourBrainwashed

    What pisses me off is the fact that his reassurance for no goverment take over was in a nut shell ahh trust me y would the goverment take over... this is NOT a reassurance but a hint of things to come. they obviously want the goverment in this as much as possible and wont accept any less... seeing how he right out came forth with if ur against the bill or trying to kill it im not quoting it we all know wat im talking about... that he would not allow it that he would make this bill pass... now with that and his reconciliation plan of attack when did america become built on we the goverment and not we the people?... y is he underhanding things to get bills that WE THE PPL dont want!!!!

    September 9, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. green party

    Oh, noooooow the GOP want to go bipartisan after spending all of August saying NO NO NO to every proposal the Democrats brought up....we are not going to forget that 3 members of the "gang of six" were totally negative for the past six weeks and refused to cooperate at all....I say make them remember their threats to "kill" a health bill and "waterloo" and "no public plan" and "Obama's demise" and all the rest of their politicking...

    Vote out every GOP or Democrat blue doggie who opposes a plan of choice that the SILENT majority of americans want passed...

    2010 is not that far away, you opponents of 100% health care for all citizens...not too far away to remember what you do NOW!!!!

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    September 9, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  16. Chris

    I'm a democrat. Didn't totally agree with what this guy was saying...but AT LEAST it was a legitimate, valid, and RESPECTFUL disagreement. You republicans that agree with Joe Wilson are really showing yourselves to be low class and DISRESPECTFUL OF THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT...and particularly President Obama. Get over it! You lost! He won! And the world hasn't ended yet? really?

    September 9, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  17. jts

    Is anyone surprised that a middle aged white guy from the south thinks its okay to yell and call the first AA POTUS a liar during a world wide televised address to Congress? Why do people continue to suggest that there is no element of racism at the base of the criticisms and opposition of Pres. Obama? Wilson's hate so overwhelmed him that he could not contain himself. So sad.

    September 9, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  18. Jacob

    This is too significant of an issue to leave to politics and spin as usual. CNN and other major news organizations should come together to host a presidential style debate about healthcare policy to give the people as much of the truth as possible.

    September 9, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. Mj

    I found Rep. Charles Boustany's skeptical reply rather ironic. He hails from a state where at least 2/3rds of it's citizens are on some sort of federal program, and a state which has taken in Billions in subsidies since Obama has taken office. They receive more federal funding than most states, they rank 4th nationally.

    So Charles, why bite the hand that feeds?

    September 9, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. Tom

    1930s - Republicans oppose Social Security... "will lead this country into communism". Not a single yes vote. 1960s - Republicans oppose Medicare ... "will kill private insurance" ... "government takeover". Not a single yes vote. Neither allegations were true or became true. Which program does your grandparents want to get rid of? How about the Socialist/Marxist PUBLIC school you went to? or the Socialist/Marxist Public Fire Dept? Socialist/Marxist Public Library? Police Dept? Armed Services? All Government run. None of them have run any private enterprise "out of business".

    The Public Option is just that, AN OPTION.

    Dow we want to fall for the same scare tactics and bogus claims from the people who wanted to kill and still want to kill Social Security or Medicare?

    September 9, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Danny

    I believe that Representative Boustany sums up republicans' true stance in this whole debate: health care reform needs to focus on lowering cost and improve quality of health care. Of course, however, both Republicans and Democrats have their sets of principles that direct their input into this discussion. I believe in order to break the tension in Washington, we as constituents need to understand more of this issue, objectively and prudently discern what will work from both parties' health reform arsenals, and contact our representatives and voice our final verdicts on what needs to be done. It is time for bipartisan effort. Since both Republicans and Democrats alike agree that the system is broken, let's do something constructively about it, and find a viable solution, now!

    September 9, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  22. Farrell in Houston

    I keep telling you people, doctors and insurance papers ddon't mix. Doctors don't like being bothered with paperwork and that's why they hire billing specialist and clerks.

    September 9, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  23. Tesap;Savannah, GA

    Maybe he should have read the speech before commenting, his remarks seemed out of touch... and showed that it wasn;t thought out.. but what else do expect... atleast it was Jindal

    September 9, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  24. JES

    Great response and I look forward to see if anyone is willing to try your suggestions.

    September 9, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  25. S M R

    President Obama now has the momentem and these Republican CLOWNS want to make a deal? I THINK NOT..... SORRY...TOO LATE!!!

    September 9, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
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