‘Party Of No’ Continues To Defend The Status Quo Despite Overwhelming Evidence That The Need For Health Care Reform Is Urgent


Washington, DC – Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine issued the following statement in response to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s address to the National Press Club on health care reform today:

“This morning, Chairman Steele delivered a speech announcing a ‘new’ Republican campaign against the President’s efforts to reformAmerica’s broken health care system. Republican opposition to health care reform, however, is anything but new. In his speech, Chairman Steele spoke at length about the potential risks to reforming our failed health care system. It's sad, but not surprising, that the Republican Party, which for so long has supported the very policies and vested interests that helped get us to this crisis point, are unable to recognize the that the real risk is to do nothing at all, as they propose.

“Over the last eight years, our health care system languished while Republicans ignored exploding costs, rising deficits, struggling small business owners, and the millions of hard-working Americans who lack access to health care. After eight years of Republican inaction and obstruction, we are faced with insurance premiums that are rising at a rate three times faster than wages. Now, one in five American workers are uninsured, up from one in seven a decade ago, due to rapid rise in private health insurance premiums. In 1993, 61 percent of small businesses provided health insurance. In 2008, only 38 percent of small businesses are able to provide health insurance, with 10 percent now considering dropping coverage next year. And the increase in health care costs continues to outpace our ability to pay for them.

“Despite the crisis that confronts American families, the GOP continues to argue for the status quo on behalf of the special interests. If we do nothing as the Republican ‘Party of NO’ would have us do, we not only will ensure more of the same, but guarantee a growing crisis that will put a burden on our children that they will never overcome.

“It was also stunning - and sad - to hear that Chairman Steele agreed with Senator DeMint's comments that stopping health care reform would ‘break’ the President politically. What's ‘broken’ is a health care system where costs continue to explode, working families can't afford their premiums, small business can't compete, and where the Republican Party is interested in ensuring that we do nothing about these problems purely for their own political gain.

“For too many years, Americans have suffered under a failed health care system that costs too much, provides too little, and doesn’t come anywhere close to delivering the first-class care that Americans deserve. As we’ve seen, the effects of our broken health care system do not discriminate, and accordingly all of us must work together to achieve a solution that creates systemic and lasting change. It’s time for Chairman Steele and the ‘Party of NO’ to stop attempting to run out the clock on health care reform and start offering real solutions.”