Once More, With Feeling: Rep. Boustany Repeats Health Care Myths

May 15, 2009 6:52 pm ET

In the weekly Republican address set to air on May 16, 2009, Rep. Charles Boustany conjures a sense of déjà-vu in his listeners by repeating already-debunked claims about health care.

Rep. Boustany Claims The Government Will "Take Over" Health Care, With Disastrous Consequences

Rep. Boustany: "Republicans are concerned about news reports indicating that some Democrats favor a policy called a 'government' or 'public' option.  We need to be clear about what this means.  From my former practice, I know allowing the government to replace the health coverage that more than 100 million Americans currently have through their jobs could have devastating consequences.  A government takeover of health care will put bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions that should be made by families and doctors." [Republican Weekly Address, 5/15/09]

In Reality, Democrats Have Consistently Called For A Public Option That Will Provide The Private Sector With Healthy Competition

House Democrats Are Committed To A Public Health Care Option Which Will "Spur Competition Within The Insurance Industry." The Hill reported: "[Majority Leader] Hoyer indicated that House Democrats are committed to including a public plan option in their bill. 'We believe that a public option clearly is going to be necessary' to provide consumers with an alternative to private insurance and to spur competition within the insurance industry, Hoyer said." [The Hill, 3/26/09]

Senate Democrats Have Proposed That Public Health Care Should "Comply With All The Rules And Standards That Apply To Private Insurance" To Ensure That Private Insurance Can Compete.  According to the New York Times: "In an effort to defuse the most explosive issue in the debate over comprehensive health care legislation, a top Senate Democrat has proposed that any new government-run insurance program comply with all the rules and standards that apply to private insurance. The proposal was made Monday by Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership, in a bid to address fears that a public program would drive private insurers from the market." [New York Times, 5/5/09]

Speaker Pelosi Is Looking For A Public Option To Make Private Insurers More Competitive. According to Bloomberg: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House this year will consider health-care legislation including an option for a government-run program that would compete with insurers. 'This is a big agenda, and I believe it should have a public option in it for it to be really substantial,' Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol. Pelosi said the Democratic-controlled House will be 'aggressive' in its approach to a health-care overhaul, which is a centerpiece of Obama's agenda. She said a government role in health care will help U.S. companies be more competitive." [Bloomberg, 3/26/09]

The Administration Advocates For Health Care Reform That Will "Reduce Long-Term Growth Of Health Care Costs For Businesses And Government." According to the White House: "The Administration believes that comprehensive health reform should:

  • Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government
  • Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs
  • Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
  • Invest in prevention and wellness
  • Improve patient safety and quality of care
  • Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
  • Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job
  • End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions"

[WhiteHouse.gov, accessed 5/11/09]

Media Matters Action Network has previously fact-checked similar claims made by Rep. Eric Cantor, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, and Rep. John Boehner.