John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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The Doctor is in The House

Posted on March 19, 2010
I had a nice visit with Congressman Charles Boustany this morning.   A heart surgeon by training, Boustany is perhaps best known to the public for giving the response to President Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this year.  To his colleagues, he is best known as a work-horse who has become an effective advocate on behalf of workable health care reform.

The good doctor, for obvious reasons, is concerned about the health care bill as it seems to inexorably head towards the finish line.  Passage of this bill has both good and bad implications.  Clearly, this bill will be bad for the country.  It will push our debt to unacceptable levels.   It will increase taxes on job creators just when our country needs more job creation.   Health care premiums will inevitably increase.  And it will have a perverse incentive of forcing more doctors from practicing their profession.  In fact, the bill will hit specialty doctors the hardest, heart surgeons and OB/Gyns, and that will have a serious impact on the future of health care in this country.

The good news is that this bill will give the American people further incentive to vote Republicans into the majority, so that they can quickly get to work to fix this terrible situation.

Boustany, who has been tapped by Minority Leader (and soon to be Speaker) John Boehner to play a leadership role when it comes to health care communications in this Congress, is already thinking about how he can help fix this situation from his perch as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Oversight Subcommittee (when Republicans take over).

From the Oversight Committee, Boustany can play a tremendously important role in highlighting the problems with Obamacare, while also coming up with better ideas to actually fix the health care marketplace.

Many Republicans are already talking the talk of repeal.  That sounds like a great idea on the face of it, but in the real world of legislation and votes, it is far harder to repeal this bill in one fell swoop.  Why?  Well, because Barack Hussein Obama has one mighty big veto pen, and it is unlikely that Republicans will win two-thirds of the vote in either the House or the Senate. 

So, Boustany is already starting to think about a strategy to pick apart the President’s plan, piece by piece.  There are some parts of the plan, like the Pre-existing Conditions provisions, that might want to be improved and retained.  Others, like the Medicare cuts and the taxes on job creations, should be repealed immediately.  But none of this is going to be easy.

Boustany understands that it won’t be easy, and he also understands that this takes both a smart strategy and a lot of hard work. 

The good doctor also understands that it is not just what the President has done in this bill that is the problem.  It is also what he hasn’t done.  And one thing that was left undone was getting rid of federal anti-trust regulations that prohibit doctors from working together on coordinated care. 

Boustany plans on working hard to fix the things that are fixable in the President’s health care plan, repeal the things that are repealable (if that is a word), and teeing up some issues that are essential for real health care reform to be successful. 

This is one doctor who is in the House and is getting ready to get to work on real health care reform once the GOP takes back the Congress.