Advance Talking Points from Rep. Boustany’s Rebuttal

  • The American people have spoken. They oppose government-run health care. Republicans are on the side of the American people.
  • Tonight, Dr. Charles Boustany (R-LA) will deliver the Republican address following President Obama’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress. Dr. Boustany is a heart surgeon with 20 years of experience, who knows first-hand about the need for lower health care costs and the harmful effect government-run care would have on cost and quality.
  • What Americans want are common-sense, responsible solutions that address the rising cost of health care and other major problems in a manner our nation can afford. To date, they haven’t gotten that from Democratic leaders in Washington, who’ve proposed a costly government takeover that will replace many Americans’ current health care with government-run care, add hundreds of billions to the national debt, ration care, and destroy millions of American jobs.
  • What Americans want is for President Obama to take government-run health care off the table and start over on a common-sense, bipartisan health care reform plan our nation can afford.
  • Reports indicate the president may mention medical liability reform, which Republicans have championed for years to help curb rising health care costs for patients and their families. But will he propose and support real medical liability reform solutions, or simply offer more Washington rhetoric that does nothing to end junk lawsuits and lower costs? We hope he does the former – and if he does, we’ll welcome his support.
  • Republicans believe the president must address the harmful impact Democrats’ proposed health care plans will have on American jobs. House Democrats’ health care bill would raise taxes on job creators by $600 billion and destroy millions of American jobs in the midst of what is already, at best, a jobless recovery.
  • The Obama Administration promised that its “stimulus” spending bill would keep the unemployment rate from going above 8 percent; instead, last week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the national unemployment rate has reached 9.7 percent, the highest level in a generation, and more than 2.4 million private-sector jobs have been destroyed since the “stimulus” became law.
  • Americans don’t want a government takeover of their health care. They don’t want a new speech. They want a new plan. Republicans hope the president uses tonight’s speech to hit the “reset” button and start over, this time working with Republicans to craft a bipartisan, responsible health care reform plan our nation can afford.


  1. elspeth says:

    Okay, off topic, but I had to share. Turns out I'm a Centrist with dislike for political extremes. Someone should tell Nancy and Janet.

  2. T.I.M. says:

    The rebuttal to Obama's forty-five minute speech too around four minutes (he didn't have to waste time with applause). Nor did he suffer from rounding errors (Obama mentioned the "hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance". And he didn't have to demand an apology from someone calling out "you lie". That COULD make for an interesting exchange: apology forthcoming IN the president can prove that he hasn't.

  3. T.I.M. says:

    Sorry for the typos (too = took) and IN = IF). So much for preefrooding…

  4. cher-pa says:

    I did not get the chance to listen to our dear leader lie to the American people tonight.Instead my husband and I were in Johnstown PA.(John Murtha's district), At the Tea Party Express stop.What a great evening of patriotic songs,speakers that told the truth about this administration and hundreds of Americans pledging to unite as one and take OUR COUNTRY BACK!! (Gave me goosebumps!)
    If you get the chance go to one of these events or travel to D.C. on September 12th.I for one will never forget the patriotism and love for our country that was so openly displayed tonight.

  5. Gail B says:

    T.I.M -
    Thanks for clearing that up!

    I'm dyslexic and sometimes hear myself rewarding Buckshot because he was a good boy–he had "poo-pooed and peeped!"

    Preefrooding is good, too!

  6. Jennifer says:

    I didn't listen to the speech because I was watching the season finale of Leverage. I will say one thing regarding the interuption by the esteemed representative from Wisconsin (I think). Obama has given the American people and its representatives no other choice but to use this forum to fight against this dangerous plan. He has not met with Republican leaders on this issue since April and fills his "townhalls" with democrats that ask ridiculous questions never once taking on the challenging questions surrounding this bill. I say right on and keep it coming!

  7. Robert Wallace says:

    Jeff and Rix-

    Comparing the legal system to the mob is definitely a stretch, to say the least.

    The premise seems to be that whomever can afford the biggest guns (lawyers or mobsters) wins. Might makes right.

    And while it is certainly true that if you can afford a horde of expensive lawyers you've got an advantage in a lawsuit over someone who can't, the fact remains that we actually have a justice system that seeks for justice. And while it's possible to use money to distort this system claiming that an imperfect system is equivalent to not having a system at all is pretty much absurd.

    And that's not even getting into the fact that if you lose in the American system you might lose your shirt. Whereas in the Russian system you tend to lose a bit more than that when your side comes up short.

  8. Rix says:

    If Boustani does not spend at least five minutes advocating tort reform and dissecting the per-per-play connection between Democrats and trial lawyers, I'll say his speech is a roaring failure. No disrespect to Jeff's education but this particular group of people should be cut off the trough; not only it places tremendous drain on every aspect of nation's economy (including healthcare), it makes America the laughing stock of the world.

    According to the test, I am – not quite unexpectedly – a hardcore libertarian. something tells me that most people reading AR are in the same checkbox.

  9. Rix says:

    While I was writing a response, Robert saved me the trouble by putting it much more succintly that I possibly could. I have a profound respect for the American law and regret that my words could be seen as anything else. It is the price of its tools that has become so unbearable as to defy its very purpose.

    PS: To clear a misunderstanding, the "Old Russian system" existed in parallel with the civil courts; no sane person (even a Russian) wants to deal with criminals over a leaked pipe or a broken stereo.

  10. JEFF SCHREIBER says:


    According to the CBO, malpractice amounts to less that two percent of health care spending, and that even a reduction of 25 to 30 percent in malpractice costs would only reduce health care costs by 0.4 to 0.5 percent.

    On the other side of the equation, the threat of malpractice, it has been argued, may save lives in that doctors will order additional tests, even as a simple CYA measure.

    Now, I'm for some modicum of tort reform, even as a soon-to-be attorney, but if its allowed to run hog-wild, there will be NO check on misconduct and NO compensation for those who are injured.

  11. Rix says:


    Malpractice lawsuits for gross negligence are an important check on healthcare quality but something must be done with the easiness of groundless suing and the cost of legal defense. As things stand now, it is often cheaper to settle than to defend (not to speak of actually losing!), which turns malpractice lawyering into a sort of legalized extortion business.

    The simplest way would be to access a penalty, equal to some function of the sued-for amount and legal costs, against any plaintiff who loses a malpractice case. That will clearly not affect people who sue for a wrong-hand amputation or a lancet forgotten in the stomach cavity but will wipe ambulance chasers and "personal anguish" buffoonery that floods the courts and inspires unhealthy numeric imagination in jurors.

  12. JEFF SCHREIBER says:


    Between 95 and 98 percent of cases–of ALL types–are settled before trial. So is the entire legal system a "sort of legalized extortion business?"

    Now, on your second point, I agree with you that perhaps we can consider the English, "loser pays" approach to attorney's fees, but that also chases away people of limited means who truly do need redress.

    When our kitchen ceiling came down and my insurance company refused to pay, they spent upwards of $35k defending something that could have been solved with a $6k check. There's a public policy lesson here — the cost of defending and settling lawsuits breed responsibility and care. If we reduce medical malpractice down to a injury-specific scale of the sort used in worker's compensation law, what incentive will that provide for anybody to do the right thing?

  13. Robert Wallace says:

    I'm lost.

    Rix compared the American court system to Soviet-era corruption.

    We both said that comparison was absurd.

    Then Rix apparently agreed with my post – affirming that his original post was on balance absurd? – and drew a much more narrow comparison.

    The US system is like a system where you hire mobsters to whack people in that it's too expensive. Which is sort of like saying "lawyers and hired assassins are similar in that they are both expensive."


    My post was meant to rebutt Rix's point, not corroborate it. As far as his new version goes… I think it's too odd to agree with.

  14. Rix says:

    > Between 95 and 98 percent of cases–of ALL types–are settled
    > before trial. So is the entire legal system a "sort of legalized
    > extortion business?"

    Jeff, your question is likely rhetoric but my answer would be yes, it quite often is. The costs associated with courts have made them a tool of domination of the wealthy over the less fortunate.

    A very similar system of "justice" was commonspread in Russia except they hired gangsters instead of lawyers. There was an arbitration body consisting of respectable, well-known top gangsters who went out of "business" due to advanced age, declining health or significant accumulation of wealth; their arbitration was often straightforward and surprisingly honest. The gangsters required an amount up front and shared the spoils if the side who claimed to be damaged won; in extreme cases of non-payment, the loser could be beaten or even murdered. This system of arbitration (Russians called it "po ponyatiyam") was naturally unavailable to common citizens without wealth, official post or connected family/friends. Tell me now, outside of physical violence, do you think the American justice system is really different?

  15. JEFF SCHREIBER says:


    You know I appreciate you here, but that is the most asinine thing I've ever heard. The legal system's capacity for responsibility and redress is the cornerstone for our civilized society. Could it be tweaked? Sure. But what can't.

    Second, your comparison with the old Russian system is laughable. Arbitration and all sorts of alternative dispute resolution measures are available to anyone in the United States, and contingency fee structures allow anybody to obtain redress. Your arguments don't make sense — on one hand, you lament that too many people take advantage of this "legalized extortion" industry, but on the other you bemoan this Russian system for withholding means of alternative dispute resolution from common people.

    Here in the US, the chance for redress is available to everyone, whether it be through litigation or ADR measures. Contingency fee models furthermore make it feasible for the so-called "have-nots" to legally stand up for themselves. Without the checks and balances provided by the legal system as it stands now, not only would doctors know that misconduct would be affordable, but the people of America would be run roughshod over by the IRS, big business and everybody else.

    With all due respect, you're fairly knowledgeable about a number of things, Rix, but on the American justice system, you have a whole lot to learn.

  16. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    Oh, good gracious. If you two are agreeing, I need to go buy a lottery ticket or something.

  17. Anonymous says:

    We should have dueling banjos playing when this thread is opened.

  18. Rix says:

    A lot of confusion went into this thread so I'll try to clarify my point without verbal polish.

    To me, Russian bandits (I reserve "mobsters" for SEIU folk) and American lawyers are essentially same, necessary to uphold the order and justice yet a huge drain on the community. They are bound by professional code, side with the highest (or first) bidder no matter right or wrong, and are loathed and at the same time feared and respected by the general population. Lawyers leave no bodily wounds but that's about the only difference I could find.

    I rest my case.

  19. aaroncrowe says:

    Health care or not, I’m partisan to a president that can lower my taxes and fix what the housing market “greed” created… Just get the job market back up and avoid more scams…including “communism”

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