Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) this weekend delivered the weekly Republican address on the need for real health care reform that makes coverage more affordable and accessible for middle-class families and small businesses. In the address, Price — who served Atlanta-area patients as a physician for more than two decades — fact-checks a number of myths about the Democrats’ government takeover of health care and presents the Republicans’ case for reform that keeps patients and doctors — not government bureaucrats — in charge of personal medical decisions. Audio of the address is available here and video of the address will be available here.
Following is the text of Rep. Price’s address:
“Hello, I’m Congressman Tom Price. And I have the privilege of representing the Sixth District of Georgia. Before coming to Congress I was a physician, taking care of patients on the north side of Atlanta for more than twenty years.
“Right now, Americans from coast to coast are debating the monumental task of reforming our health system. Folks of every political persuasion understand the imperative of reform. But they want reform that keeps what’s good with our current system — and fixes what’s not working — without destroying our quality of care.
“The status quo in American health care is clearly unacceptable. Rising costs, shrinking access, and third-party decision making are driving patients away from their doctors and the desired care that they seek. The challenge, however, is providing Americans more accessible and affordable care without impairing the quality, innovation, and choices that define American medicine. And this is simply impossible with the one-size-fits-all approach taken by the President and Democrats in charge of Congress.
“Experience tells me that as a doctor, no two patients are exactly alike. While the same diagnosis can be reached for two people, the proper treatment for each may be completely different, based on a countless number of factors that only a patient, their family, and a caring and compassionate physician truly understand. Having navigated federal health care programs for two decades, I can tell you that Washington is incapable of processing the personal and unique circumstances that patients and doctors face each and every day. That is why a positive solution will put power in the hands of patients, not insurance companies or the government.
“Unfortunately, the plan being promoted by the White House would give Washington the power to make highly personal medical decisions on behalf of patients — on behalf of you. Now whether it’s the government choosing what should be in your family’s health care plan, or a bureaucratic board deciding what treatments are appropriate and who should receive them, the President’s plan is a 1,000-page expression supporting the notion that Washington knows best when it comes to your family’s health care. And that’s simply not true.
“As opposition to the Democrats’ government-run health plan is mounting, the President has said he’d like to stamp out some of the disinformation floating around out there. The problem is the President, himself, plays fast and loose with the facts. So as someone who’s taken care of patients, I’d like to take a moment to clear up a couple of the President’s worst offenses.
“On the stump, the President regularly tells Americans that ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’ But if you read the bill, that just isn’t so. For starters, within five years, every health care plan will have to meet a new federal definition for coverage — one that your current plan might not match, even if you like it.
“What’s more, experts agree that under the House bill, millions of Americans will be forced off their personal, private coverage and shuffled onto the government plan.
“Now the President has also said that he thinks the government should compete with your current health care plan. But we all know that when the government is setting the rules and is backed by tax dollars, it will destroy — not compete — with the private sector. The reality is, whether or not you get to keep your plan, or your doctor, is very much in question under the President’s proposal.
“But perhaps the most striking misinformation the President has put forth is that there are only two options out there for America — that it’s his way or the highway. That it’s either the government running the show – or insurance companies. The truth is there is a third way – a better way, a patient-centered way to reform health care. Rather than allowing insurance companies or the government to call the shots, Republicans want to put patients in charge of their family’s health care. We have plans to increase coverage and lower costs without putting a bureaucrat between you and your doctor. We believe that what’s good for patients is good for American health care.
“If anything has been learned from the debate in August, it’s that the American people think that we can do better. They seek reform, but they reject a government-centered approach. With people on the left, and the right, and everywhere in between dissatisfied with the process, it’s time that we start over to create a truly bipartisan solution that puts patients in charge. Honoring the transparency promised the American people, and the principles of quality care we all hold dear, we can create a patient-centered proposal that all may support. We look forward to working with the President, and on behalf of the American people, to make patient-centered health reform a reality.
“I’m Congressman Tom Price. Thanks so much for listening.”