February 27th, 2010
10:39 AM ET
13 years ago

Coburn: Republicans 'have a different vision for reform'

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, delivers this week's Republican address. Coburn, who is also a doctor, discusses the GOP's proposals for health care reform and the need for more bipartisanship in Congress.

(Full transcript of Coburn's remarks after the jump)

Full text of Republican weekly addressed delivered by Sen. Tom Coburn, as prepared for delivery:

““Hello, I’m Dr. Tom Coburn, a practicing physician from Oklahoma and a member of the United States Senate.

“This week I had the opportunity to join President Obama and my Democrat and Republican colleagues for a summit on health care. We had a respectful and constructive discussion.

“While we listened to one another, I’m concerned that the majority in Congress is still not listening to the American people on the subject of health care reform. By an overwhelming margin, the American people are telling us to scrap the current bills, which will lead to a government takeover of health care, and we should start over.

“Unfortunately, even before the summit took place the majority in Congress signaled its intent to reject our offers to work together. Instead they want to use procedural tricks and backroom deals to ram through a new bill that combines the worst aspects of the bills the Senate and House passed last year.

“The American people have rejected the majority’s plan for good reason. Their plan includes half a trillion dollars in new tax increases, a half a trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare, job-killing penalties for employers, taxpayer funded abortion and new boards that will ration care to American citizens. At its core, their plan continues a government-centered approach that has made health care more expensive. Federal and state governments already control 60 percent of health care. If more government spending and control was the answer we could have fixed health care long ago.

“Republicans in Congress have a different vision for reform. We have put forward several proposals that lay out a common sense step-by-step path to reform. Our solutions are patient-centered, not government-centered. We believe in expanding options, not government; increasing access, not taxes; and reducing costs, not quality. Most importantly, we believe that no one has the right to step between you and your doctor.

“I introduced a health care bill called the ‘Patients’ Choice Act’ last May along with Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina and Representatives Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Devin Nunes of California that includes several step-by-step ideas for reform. The ‘Patients’ Choice Act’ and other Republican plans accomplish all of the President’s goals, including expanding coverage, without raising taxes, bankrupting the country or rationing care.

“Our ideas address the core problem in our health care system – skyrocketing costs – by using the only force that ever lowers cost – competition and consumer choice. Health care is so expensive today because third-parties – government and insurance company bureaucrats – have stepped between you and your doctor.

“Our solutions restore the doctor-patient relationship and put you – not your insurance company, your boss or the government – in charge of your health care dollars and decisions. The ‘Patients’ Choice Act,’ for instance, provides generous tax credits that let you buy, and keep, the plan of your choice. We also limit lawsuit abuse which causes doctors to order costly tests that protect themselves rather than you, the patient.

“Our proposals to rein in the massive amount of fraud, waste and duplication in our health care system drew widespread praise from Democrats at the summit, including the President. One in three dollars in our more than $2 trillion health care system does not do anything to help people get well or prevent them from getting sick. Democrats and Republicans agree that eliminating waste and inefficiency would lower costs and improve access tomorrow.

“The majority now has a choice. We can continue to make progress like we did at the summit. Or, they can try to ram through a partisan bill that will divide and bankrupt America.

“I wholeheartedly share President Obama’s desire for more civility and bipartisanship in Washington and I’m proud of the work that we did together when he was a member of the Senate. True civility, however, is measured by actions, not words.

“I was disappointed the President rejected my suggestion that he host another summit. The President himself proposed that such meetings be televised more than a year ago. Last year, dozens of Democrat-only summits were held in secret behind closed doors and produced many unsavory deals. Had those meetings been open and bipartisan, I believe Congress could have passed a bipartisan health bill months ago.

“If the President and the leaders in Congress are serious about finding common ground they should continue this debate, not cut it off by rushing through a partisan bill the American people have already rejected. If the majority agrees to work together they will find many Republicans ready to help them pursue our common goals of helping all Americans access quality and affordable health care for themselves and their families.

“Thank you so much for listening.”

Filed under: GOP • Health care • Popular Posts • Tom Coburn
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. strong

    Whatever Coburn.

    There isn't a dime's worth of difference between Repubs and Dems.

    February 27, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Tony in Maine

    It would be interesting to watch the Republicans should Coburn's bill come to the floor for a vote. So far, they have done 180's on their own ideas – even the Republican originators of ideas for health reform have voted "no" once Obama said he liked them.

    What will it take for people to realize that the only reform Republicans might accept would be shielding doctors and hospitals from malpractice suits.

    February 27, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Jim

    Last I checked the definition of bipartsanship is BOTH sides coming together. The Dems seem to have included a number of GOP's ideas:
    1. sell across state lines
    2. some semblance of tort reform
    3. no pre-condition requirements

    Where have the GOP agreed to Dem ideas?

    February 27, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Tom in Va

    There can be no doubt any more after hearing what Coburn had to say that the GOP is using delay (and scare) tactics. They really have NO interest in Healthcare Reform, only oppsoing any Democratic measures JUST to oppose them.

    What the GOP is doing is putting their own interests ahead of the nation's.

    It's despicable.

    February 27, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    why doesn't the GOP just admit they DON'T WANT ANY KIND of healthcare reform because if they did when they were in power they would have tired to do something about it. Now with all the mis-information and fears they have spread among the population they want to say that we the people don't want it either.

    February 27, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Perusing-through


    . . . Is to sabotage a years worth of hard work on good, inexpensive, quality health-coverage on behalf of America's hardworking middle-class families, , , , , , , for worthless breadcrumbs that WOULD NOT cover a fraction of middle-class Americans that need reform, and also WOULD NOT be used by Republican politicians or their families.

    February 27, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. terry,va.

    Obummie doesn't want health care reform. What he is proposing won't help the economy one cent. As a matter of fact it will increase cost and cause job losses. All he wants is more government control. Therefore he will not have anything to do with tort reform, purchasing insurance across state lines, etc. Before all you liberal idiots say the CBO says it will reduce costs, consider that the CBO can only score costs based on the assumption they are given. All of Obummie's assumptions are smoke and mirrors. For example, do you really think Medicare can be cut $500 billion dollars? If you do give me a call. I will sell you the Brooklyn Bridge at a great price.

    February 27, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. johnrj08

    The Republican's "vision" of health care reform is clouded by their archaic ideology and the influence of private insurance company money. Basically, they want no reform and that was made abundantly clear in the summit, where they spent nearly all of their time speaking in abstracts and whining. Even though it was quite clear that they agreed on many aspects of the current bill, they all kept repeating "Start over", as if they were just a flock of well-trained parrots. These people NEVER negotiated in good faith during this debate. They were either stalling or they were obstructing, never even considering the fact that compromise would be necessary to get a bill. The sad thing is, there are a lot of ignorant, poorly informed Americans who buy into their lies about the bill.

    February 27, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. John in WV

    Republicans have had ample opportunities to pass their version of health reform but have shown no interest until now. When they used reconciliation to pass tax cuts to the rich in 2001 and 2003, they never described it as ramming through a bill as they now do with health reform. Why do insurance companies have control of health dollars and decisions? It's because the repubs have protected them. The republican party bares the majority of responsibility for the mess our health care system is in. They owe the American people, especially those who have suffered medically and financially, an opology for their do nothing attitude regarding health care. The dems need to pass this bill without delay Repubs can just get over it.

    February 27, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. jules sand-perkins

    Senator Coburn, of course, is as exactly right as President Obama is exactly wrong.
    The President, far-leftist Democrats, and their supportive claque of beggars have never intended to listen to Republicans' ideas on health-care reform, or even to centrist Democrats' ideas.
    The only intention of the President's camp is to insist that Republicans "don't have any ideas," and that centrist Democrats are equally incapable of mentation.
    President Obama is achieving his goal of obstructing reason to further the advent of his own Marxist community organizer's vision of a Robin-Hood-supervised America.

    February 27, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. John in Brooklyn

    Actually, the Republicans DON'T have an alternative to reform. Consistently their strategies have been to block and tackle ANY type of reform in a desperate attempt to maintain the status quo for their cronies in the insurance industry.

    Coburn should be more honest.

    February 27, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. David Hanegraaf

    Funny. Other than Tea Party wackos and Republicans, I don't hear Americans saying they don't want the Health Care bill passed. I hear everyone say pass it.

    February 27, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Tom says just let them die if they cant get insurance.So much for him and his oath.

    February 27, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. kfc, NJ

    However, what he fails to mention is that the bill which has already passed had republican support. The problem is tha the GOP did not get what they want. Such winny babies. While you are abandoning the American people we are dying hourly. Stop delaying and work with the system.

    February 27, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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