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Boehner Says GOP Support Unlikely for Baucus Health Plan

In an interview with Jeffrey Brown, House Minority Leader John Boehner describes the prospects for GOP support of the president's health reform push and describes what he sees as a "modern-day political rebellion in America" over the expanding role of government.

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    And now to our Newsmaker interview with the top Republican in the House of Representatives, John Boehner. Jeffrey Brown spoke with him a short while ago.


    Congressman Boehner, welcome to you.

  • REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader:

    Glad to be here.


    Yesterday, Senator Baucus came out with a long-awaited plan that had no public option, a much lower price tag than previous plans, pays for itself, according to the Congressional Budget Office, seemed to incorporate things that Republicans had talked about wanting, and yet got no Republican support. Why not?


    Well, there clearly are some things in there that Republicans do support. But when you step back and look at this, it still has a big government takeover of our health care system, whether it's the co-ops, whether it's the mandates on individuals, the mandates on companies, the unfunded mandates on states, and still costs some $800 billion of money that we don't have.

    And so a step in the right direction, but Democrats and Republicans understand that we do have the best health care system in the world. It's not perfect. And we can fix the problems in the current system without throwing the whole system away and starting over with this government takeover, because at the end of the day that's what it is.


    Well, I want you to explain what you mean by government takeover, because wouldn't it still be the case that most people would be working through the private sector, the private insurers, that much of these things would be still voluntary for people to move into, that the majority of people would still go through their employers' plans?


    Well, that's not what's going to happen. If you look at these bills, there's a requirement that after five years every employer-provided health plan has to be approved by the Department of Labor and the health choices czar.

    Now, what that means is that the federal government's going to design what employers are allowed to offer to their employees, regardless of what the employees want. And if employers don't do this, there's an 8 percent payroll tax.

    And what this is going to do is drive many employers out of the business of providing health insurance to their employees, and they're going to be forced into these health exchanges that are going to be run by the government.

    After five years, you can't go out and buy a health care policy without going to one of the government exchanges. And this is — when you begin to look at the infrastructure that's being built here, you can begin to see that there's all of this government involvement in the delivery of health insurance and health care in America, and it's something that the American people are soundly rejecting.

    They believe that, yes, we've got problems in our current system. Why don't you find a way to reduce the cost to me as an American? And why don't we find ways of providing affordable health insurance to Americans who don't have good access today?