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Summit on health care set

By Staff
U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner
Guest column
After a year of ignoring Republican views while crafting his controversial health care reform proposal at times in secret, President Obama is now calling for a bipartisan health care summit on Feb. 25.  He is finally asking Republicans to participate in the discussion.
While the president appears to acknowledge that he cannot pass a health care reform bill without the consent of the majority of the Americans who continue to oppose his plan, many are questioning his sincerity – as do I.
What’s particularly galling is the White House has gone out of its way for the last year to effectively shut out any and all opposing views to its radical government takeover of health care. Going as far back as last May, congressional Republicans asked Obama to hold bipartisan talks about health reform and he refused to listen. 
As the president and his supporters in Congress attempted to ramrod their big government health care bills through both Houses, the American people revolted in town halls last summer and by shifting the balance of power in the Senate.  What’s more, legislation allowing states to “opt out” of participating in the onerous mandates of “Obama-care” has been introduced in 36 states.
House Republican Leader Rep. John Boehner (OH) and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (VA) have responded to the president’s invitation with a list of questions.  Chief among them: will the president agree to start over on health care, rather than attempt to preserve elements of his plan that Americans have strongly rejected?  Report-edly, the president has said he would not “reset” the health care debate. 
Furthermore, conservatives want to know if the president will make his health care proposal available to Congress and the American people 72 hours beforehand?  And will the president also invite state officials, including those who have voiced objections to mandatory health care, to participate in the health care summit?
Let’s be clear, we need to address health care cost and access, and I join my Republican colleagues in supporting our plan to reform the system without imposing government mandates or limiting choice. 
I believe we can fix what’s broken without breaking what’s working, but the president needs to realize he cannot dictate the terms of a health care reform debate or a final bill.  The American people and conservatives in Congress will not allow it.
My staff and I work for you.  If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at http://bonner.house.gov.