WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee’s Senior Republican, issued the following statement today after Senate Democrats passed legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system on a party-line vote:
“This bill and the partisan political gamesmanship that bought and paid for its passage speak volumes about the Democrat leadership in Washington that is utterly out of touch with the American people. As deadline after arbitrary deadline has passed this year, the American people’s objections have only grown stronger. But now, as Americans turn their attention away from Washington to focus on their families, Senator Reid and his allies have employed a stunning display of political payoffs and partisan arm-twisting to deliver a massive holiday burden to every individual, household, and business.
“This morning’s Senate vote will make health care more costly and more beholden to bureaucratic meddling. It will drive up taxes by more than $500 billion, including a new tax on employers struggling to keep and create jobs and a new penalty tax on all individuals – even those who make less than $250,000 – who fail to purchase health insurance that meets Washington’s standards. Above all, it will expand the reach of the federal government and the role of broken entitlement programs that threaten to bankrupt our nation.
“Democrats in Congress and the White House have grown so infatuated with the notion of a ‘historic’ achievement they seem to have forgotten the importance of sound policy. The American people deserve health care reform that meets their needs without mortgaging their children’s future or threatening their quality of care. When we return in the new year, I continue to believe the most thoughtful, effective approach to health care reform would be to hit the reset button and develop sensible, bipartisan health care solutions.
“When Congress set out to reform our health care system, Republicans were ready and willing to work in a bipartisan way to bring down costs, expand access to quality care, and preserve the relationship between patients and their doctors. We remain committed to those goals today, and we will continue fighting for these principles on behalf of the American people.”
NOTE: The legislation approved by Senate Democrats this morning violates a key pledge made by President Obama, namely that Americans who like their health care coverage will be able to keep it. Under the bill, millions of Americans will lose their current coverage, including 8 to 9 million individuals with employer-sponsored coverage, and millions of seniors with Medicare Advantage plans.