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. Jacob

    this guy is out of touch!

    September 9, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  2. Some coverage is better than none

    Healthcare cost are so high because we already pay for the uninsured when they go to the emergency room for little ailments. In addition we foot the bill for major illnesses. For those who are opponents to healthcare reform are mean and selfish. They would rather cut off their nose to spite their face.

    September 9, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  3. DEBBInola

    Was a great speech and he made what he wanted very clear, and checked the lies being said, by SARAH PALIN and others..
    Love the idea of requiring everyone to have the insurance, just like car insurance we must all have ..
    Competition too, hopefully that will make all our insurance companies drop, its getting crazy.
    The S.C. REPUBLICAN Joe Wilson I believe, that screeched and heckled the President of the United States stunned me, was very disrespectful, and showed the maturity level of some on that side. Where did he think he was, I would be very embarrassed if he was from our area?
    The republican response, a Louisianian, and although he and I have different ideals/politics, he did very well and didn't embarrass us as Jindal did when he tried awhile ago....

    September 9, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  4. VGal

    He was not only a bore, but has no credibility. This is a birther – who continues to challenge Obama's birth certificate. Shouldn't the Republicans have picked someone who appeals to more moderates? I doubt the crazy 20% of the republican base even watched the speech (who this guy would appeal to).

    He certainly didn't sway any moderates.

    September 9, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  5. BigC

    The republican response tonight was very boring and did not say anything different about this debate. As usual the republicans don't have any ideas on this health care debate. The republican party will eventually be broken up into to groups (Christian conservatives, and Moderates). The last 8 years this party is an embarassment and has become a party of no ideas with the same old stale messages. Just to think I use to support the republican party, and how I wasted my time supporting this party.

    September 9, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  6. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    I wonder how to determine what to call this man – is it Doctor – is it Congressman or how about LORD – whatever it is still the same to me IDIOT serves him best.

    September 9, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. Jayden,FL

    Boustany speech was LAME.. BTW this douche is part of the "birther" group nut jobs.. you know the people who question President Obama's birth place.. google his name!

    September 9, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. Sharon

    Thi cardiologist speech is just political!!! I am medical professional too. Can't fool me here!!!

    September 9, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  9. normajean

    We waited for months and months for the Republicans to come forward and respectfully work with the Democrats, but all they did was become the "Party of No." Now they are asking to start over in a bi-partisan manner. They have to be joking. This country has been starting over on health care for over 40 years.Do they really think that we can afford to go backward just so the NO'S can get another shot at us. In their word. "NO".

    September 9, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  10. T Mckinley

    I just read the Wilipedia article about Medicare. What I found interesting about this article, is that back in the 1960's, Republicans like Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Barry Golwater were raising the SAME objections to Medicare as the current Republicans are today concerning health care reform.

    This "call" for "bi-partisan cooperation" coming from the Republicans is nothing but outright dishonest HYPOCRACY. Their TRUE goal is to KILL healthcare reform altogether. Don't be fooled.

    September 9, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  11. balthus

    Just what I want to hear, advice about health care from a millionaire doctor bought and sold by the insurance and pharma industries. How about you quit Congress and do a stint helping Doctors Without Borders fight disease and death in some of the poorest and most desperate places on earth? Maybe then you'd earn my respect, Dr. Greedy Weasel.

    September 9, 2009 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. Pam

    This guy has been sued for malpractice 3 times.

    September 9, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  13. Susan

    More lies. To paraphrase:"Republicans want to work in a bipartisan way, but we haven't been asked." Really? How many people do you think have been ignoring this process and believe that bunk? For the past 7 months, the hand was extended and you slapped it away with your 'death panels', 'mandated abortions," and 'killing Grandma." Now that it's become obvious Americans WANT Congress to fix healthcare, you are all conciliatory and concerned about getting it other words, no public option to really bring down costs, because gee, your insurance buds might lose some profit margin. We aren't buying it any more. Palin is irrelevant, you are irrelevant, and we are going to have a bill and a plan. You can help, or get out of the way.

    September 10, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  14. am I alone in this

    This is insane, I dont blame him for calling him a liar after all the bs he has promised does he not care for his own kids with all the money hesrere given away and they have to pay back now hes goin to put a sin tax on cola? May God not Alla, help us all

    September 10, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. Richard Green

    ZZZzzzzzzz, snort, sniffle, yawn, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    You do-nothing, corporate-loving, people-hating republicans are useless.

    September 10, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  16. Tina Kurtz

    One of the first comments Mr. Boustany made was inaccurate. He stated that a public option would cause people currently insured to lose their coverage. The President made it clear that this would not happen under any Health Bill he signs. Did the man listen to anything the President said?

    September 10, 2009 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  17. Karen

    This representative of the GOP is a "birther," one of those fanatics who don't believe Obama was born in the US and is a citizen. He also co-sponsored legislation to help pay for "end of life" counseling. How ironic that the GOP would pick him to present their dreary do-nothing position. Will CNN report on his background?

    September 10, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  18. klincoln

    I cannot take Rep, Boustany seriously if he stands there claiming that the president's proposals are anything like "gov't run health care." His response made me jump off my couch and start emailing my congressmen to support Obama's plan.

    September 10, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  19. Jim

    Please, you haven't been ready for anything. You have proposed NO new legislation, no new rules to keep healthcare costs in check. All you have done is to say NO to everything. Oh, and to allow civilians to carry guns in National Parks. Something that will keep me away from said parks until that ridiculous law is repealed.

    September 10, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  20. Kick the bums out

    Folks it does sound pretty when Obama speaks, but just one question-
    Who has managed medicare all these years?
    It is not a question of do we need reform – we do.
    The question is: Can government manage anything effectively?
    I guess to suggest we look at the track record would be futile.
    Apparently track records are not important – look who we keep electing over and over.

    September 10, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  21. nancy

    for the first time in years my husband & i sat down and watched the president's speech. he did an outstanding job. i pray he can do all the things he says for the american people.
    on the other side of the coin–how childish it looked for the republicians to sit on one side and not stand. the old phrase–can't we all get along?–
    they should act like grown men & women. what impression does this give to the world. and the remark "you lie".
    i feel sorry. for all of us.
    i did not vote for president obama, but somehow he gives me hope. no one believes he will be able to do what he says. lets all get along and do this for us. america

    September 10, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  22. David S. Robins

    What's funny about this Republican "response" is that no one has every heard of Charles Boustany or even knew he was in Congress. Notice all the Republican bigwigs, Boehner, Cantor, McCain, and all the other scumbags weren't brave enough to go out there and criticize the President, particularly after he called them all out on all the lies they have been peddling these past few months. Know also that Boustany is an Arab, from Syria or Lebanon. Some of his relatives helped kill American soldiers and diplomats in Lebanon not so many years ago. Great spokesman for the Republicans who are still working hard to betray America again.

    September 10, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  23. Raymond Burgoon-Clark

    Republicans LIE like used flying-carpet salesmen.

    September 10, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia

    REPUBLI-CAN'Ts call for BiPartisan and do nothing!!! The Party of NO sense NO suggestions and NO solutions!! JUST NO!!! No Partisan but also NO bipartisan.... Jeez!!! DO SOMETHING!!!

    September 10, 2009 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  25. Mary in Oklahoma

    Strange, but Mr. Boustany agrees with everything in the proposed legislation except for the public option. So he's frustrated with the lack of discussions between the White House and the House Republicans? Well, has he ever stopped to check on how many House Republicans refuse to even consider reading the proposed health reform legislation, much less talk with the president about it???

    September 10, 2009 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
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