Tulsa World: Obama’s Health Care Speech Not Enough to Sway State Delegation

Sep 09, 2009
In The News

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s speech to Congress and the American people on health care was not enough of a game changer Wednesday to move members of Oklahoma’s delegation away from their opposition to current reform proposals.

“After tonight’s address, I remain opposed to a public option as well as tax increases on small businesses,’’ said Rep. Dan Boren, the only Democrat in the state’s delegation.

“I was pleased the president highlighted the issue of pre-existing conditions and insurance reform. However, I believe that bipartisanship requires not only listening to input, but also incorporating ideas of those with opposing viewpoints.”

Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe expressed appreciation for Obama’s comments on medical malpractice reform, a top priority for the GOP, but added that the president did not go far enough.

If the president had listened to Americans, Inhofe said, he would have dropped his proposed public option altogether.

Inhofe described Obama’s delivery as “absolutely superb’’ but added that no level of eloquence can make his health-care scheme look good.

Republican Rep. John Sullivan said he remains opposed because Obama continues to push a plan that amounts to a government takeover of the nation’s health-care system.

“Unfortunately, all we heard tonight is more of the same — a terrific salesman selling a terrible product that the American people aren’t buying,’’ Sullivan said. “Simply put, we need to reform health care, not nationalize it.’’

Republican Rep. Frank Lucas said his constituents made it clear during 18 town hall meetings in August that they were dissatisfied with the health-care legislation currently making its way through Congress.

“Yet, after listening to the president’s speech this evening, it has become clear that he plans to continue to disregard what the American people want and push for government-run health care,’’ Lucas said.

Republican Rep. Tom Cole said the president missed an opportunity to make significant concessions that might have led to bipartisan support for health-care reform.

Republican Rep. Mary Fallin said that “we all agree that much needs to be done to lower the costs of health care for all Americans, but replacing your family’s health care with government-run care is the wrong prescription for reform.’’

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said the bills making their way through both chambers of Congress do not line up with the plan described by the Obama.

“Both the House and Senate bills do, in fact, set the stage for health-care rationing, taxpayer-funded abortion and a government takeover of the health-care system,’’ said Coburn, who is one of several physicians now serving in Congress.

“Suggesting that these radical provisions are the result of scare tactics or spin, rather than the decisions of committee leaders, is counterproductive,’’ Coburn said.

Coburn said he trusts Obama to do everything he can to force changes in the current proposals.

“The final test will be the legislative product Congress produces over the next few weeks,’’ he said.

“Congress is not there yet.’’

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