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Words from Washington

With millions of phone calls, emails and personal visits to their representatives in Congress, the American people have made it clear that they want health care reform that lowers costs - not a government takeover of health care. I recently hosted a series of telephone town halls to hear from local residents and listen to their concerns - and I understand that many are troubled by the high cost of health care and by the direction of this Congress.

I support reforms that will lower the cost of health care and increase choices for all Americans. But, the fact is that the bills being pushed through Congress won't achieve these goals - and instead lead to higher spending and more government control.

Instead of listening to the American people, those who control Washington D.C. are moving full steam ahead to enact the same massive health care proposal they have been pushing for months.

The bills making their way through Congress ignore the clear desire of most Americans to scrap the government takeover of health care and start over. In the Senate, Democrats already added special deals for Nebraska, Louisiana and Florida in order to get the votes they needed on Christmas Eve to pass their bill. And, those who control this Congress have now made it clear that they will do whatever else it takes to make certain their trillion dollar health care proposal becomes law. In Washington D.C. their closed-door meetings, partisan tactics and plans to circumvent the normal lawmaking process continue.

I reject this approach and I oppose these bills that will force every American to purchase government-approved health insurance, impose costly mandates and fines on small businesses, increase taxes, cut Medicare and result in millions dropping their current health coverage. Instead of lowering costs and growing our economy, this proposal will increase health care premiums, add to our national debt and make it even more difficult for small businesses to hire new workers.

In order to achieve the kind of health care reform that Americans deserve, this Congress must stop moving toward a government takeover of health care and instead focus on common sense solutions like ending lawsuit abuse, allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, expanding health savings accounts and helping small businesses band together and purchase insurance for the same price as large corporations.

The bottom line is that this Congress needs to start over on a new bill.

- Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's Fourth Congressional District.

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