Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Olson Statement on President's Speech to Congress

September 9, 2009
Press Release

Rep. Pete Olson today issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on health care reform:

“I was encouraged to see the President acknowledge medical malpractice reform as a necessary part of the discussion with respect to cost in this debate.  Texans know that tort reform works.  Since we enacted malpractice reform legislation in 2003, physicians have seen malpractice insurance rates drop significantly. The number of malpractice lawsuits has declined; physicians are able to purchase new equipment and expand the procedures they offer and are more willing to treat high-risk patients. Malpractice reform will do more than lower costs for physicians. It will help lower the overall cost of healthcare for everyone and help physicians provide better care for patients.

“However, this speech has not convinced me that any form of public option is the right approach.  I am committed to reforms that ensure more people have access to affordable quality care.  We can achieve that by allowing individuals to use the same tax incentives available to corporations to purchase health insurance.  We can increase competition by opening state high risk pools and allowing for the purchase of insurance across state lines.  We can also make health insurance more portable so that you don’t lose coverage if you lose or switch jobs.

“A public option is unsustainable from a cost perspective both for health care providers and taxpayers.  According to economic modeling by the president's own chief economic advisor, the business tax increases alone will destroy up to 5.5 million jobs.  Despite claims that their reform will reduce health care costs, the Congressional Budget Office has said that the Democrats’ health care plan will actually increase government spending and increase our national debt.

“The government does not belong in the role of provider, regulator and funder of our nation’s health care system.  That is what a public option would bring to the table. 

“It is time for the president, and Democrats in Congress, to begin working with Republicans on real solutions to the challenges our country faces, including health care reform.”