Following is a statement released by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) after President Obama’s health care speech:
“The President’s proposal tonight outlined four major high-cost areas related to health insurance companies. These proposals will not happen in a vacuum, and we all know there are no free lunches. Someone will have to pay for these proposals.
“I appreciate that the President at least spoke of limited demonstration projects aimed at medical malpractice reform. It is a good start, but alone is not enough. In addition, our health care system needs expanded health savings accounts, better access to quality care in rural areas, and market-based options that provide coverage for the uninsured American citizens who cannot otherwise get coverage.
“Instead of trying to work through failed legislative vehicles, Congress should start from scratch, take the time necessary to appropriately address this important issue, and work in a truly bipartisan manner for common sense solutions. The President speaks of bipartisanship, but many Republican proposals have been blocked from consideration. Reform is needed, but it must be the right approach.
“Before the August recess, Democrats in the House and Senate pushed as hard as they could to rush their bill through Congress. Their effort failed, but gave thousands of Americans a reason to vocalize their strong opposition to the proposed health care reforms. Again tonight, the President applied pressure to rush a bill to his desk. Apparently, the throng of American voices against these efforts has been largely lost on many Washington bureaucrats.
“During this last month, I held several town meetings in rural communities across Oklahoma. At each of those meetings, a multitude of Oklahomans expressed their anger over what is happening to our country with the democrat’s proposals on health care reform. In my years in office, I have never seen the level of outspoken opposition and energy that this issue has generated among so many Americans.
“If the President had listened to those Americans, he would have dropped his proposed ‘public option’ all together. Instead, he continues to advocate for at least some form of a public option. The American people and I will not support any such attempt at socialized medicine.
“As usual, President Obama’s delivery this evening was absolutely superb, but no level of eloquence can make his health care scheme look good. The American people just are not buying it. This speech was billed as unveiling the President’s detailed proposal for health care reform. However, in an effort to build consensus, he seemed intent on refocusing the American people and Congress away from details. As we all know, his big picture approach will only go so far, because the devil is in the details. I doubt that tonight’s speech changed many minds.”