July 31st, 2009
10:04 PM ET

GOP leader: Health bill is bad for business

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/10/stimulus.ohio/art.johnboehner.gi.jpg" caption="House Minority Leader John Boehner thinks a government health care plan will hurt small businesses."]

John Boehner
Special to CNN

Before I was elected to Congress, I ran a small plastics packaging business in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing products and services, creating jobs and meeting payroll.

Thanks to the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which shields employers who offer benefits to their employees from being pummeled by laws that vary from state to state, I was also able to offer health care and pension benefits to my employees.

As every small-business owner knows, this can be quite a balancing act, but I count it as one of the most rewarding times of my life - a time that led to my service in Congress.

Whenever I cast a major vote in the House, I find myself thinking back to those days and how the policies we are debating will affect small businesses like mine. After all, I first decided to run for elective office because government - at all levels - was too often an impediment to my firm's success.

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Filed under: Health Care • Republicans
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    This is just politics as usual. Again these "people" we have elected are not concerned about the American People, but rather who is putting money in their pockets! What does Mr. Boehner think about the fact that many companies now only hire through Temps? This allows them to not have to worry about benefits! It always has been about the $$$ and ways to screw over the people!

    August 3, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  2. Garland G Eastman Sr

    When will America wake up the Insurance Company are Paying the Republian to stop the health bill and some Dem have got on the boat that why they are delating it to get money How can a country spent more on other countries than it willing to spent on it on People.

    August 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  3. Barbara Ann Snowberger

    yes, It is bad for the profitable healthcare industry which rakes in money hand over fist from our increasing premiums, deductibles, co-pays and prescription drugs. The monies that have been allocated to the lobbyists is over 2 billion and counting. Money that has gone to buy the votes of congress man is corrupting our system. Boehner has no idea of the day in and day out struggles of the average American. His brand of politics caters to the wealthy and above average earners who can afford their healthcare plans..His strident message is a turn off to those of us who want to have better healthcare for all-americans not just the priviledged few.

    August 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  4. Georgia

    Why is it that our representatives on the hill do not consider raising taxes on alcohol to support the health bill? Alcohol as well as cigarettes contribute to health issues. Think about the accidents, killings, health problems and mental problems that are inflicted upon themselves, family, friends and complete strangers. I wish someone would provide statistics concerning alcohol related concerns.

    August 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  5. Ida Casillas

    You should hurry back to that business, Boehner. You are a failure as a Republican leader.

    If you hurry, you can continue your "tans" in tanning studios and/or golf trips paid for you by lobbyists.


    August 2, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  6. Linda B., Ga.

    Those Rep's, Dem's, Dr's, Pharm Co's and Insurance Co's that are opposed to Health Care reform don't want it to happen because it will lessen the "kick-back" they have been getting, under the current system.

    We need to be able to receive the "same" healthcare plan(s) that members of our Congress currently have. Some being as low as $35/mo....IF it's good for them it surely is good for the "rest" of the good citizens of our "WONDERFUL" country.....

    Those of us that have our own healthcare plans, through our company or whatever "DO NOT" pay that little....

    August 2, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  7. Eva

    Aug 2 , 2009 9:02 am
    Anderson What the GOP do'nt get the goverment has prived health care for people that is on welfare no one is complaning about the billion of dollars spent on this program. That is spent on this the people have better insurance than what I have through my job. I have to pay a co pay and the people on welfer do not how fare that older American on fix income have to pay for there health care and the young women on welfer don't have to pay a dime. The taxer payer have to foot the bills for this. I thank the Presenedent is wright we need to over hall the healt care program.

    August 2, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  8. Al Clouse

    Here are some apparently ignored facts by the opposition to health care reform;
    [a] The U.S. has the most expensive health care "industry" in the world.
    [b] Yet, we rank #23 in the world in Life Expectancy, trailing countries like Jordan, Spain, U.K., Canada, France & etc.
    [c] We hear so much rumbling about the lack of quality of health care, the elderly being "put out to pasture" & etc in countries such as ; Canada and England , however it's interesting , to say the least, that we fall behind them BOTH in average Life Expectancy. {Canada, incidentally, holds the number TWO place in the world, with an average lifespan of 81.2 years}
    Most of these countries have some form of , what is being referred to as 'Socialized Medicine".
    QUESTION: Wonder why people in these countries, with a less expensive Health Care system, are LIVING LONGER than we?
    Isn't that the ultimate goal?

    August 2, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  9. Mark from Saint Louis

    Why don't you rocket-scientists just read the bill. H.R. 3200. You'll see all the flaws. If you can't see after that, that this bill in current form is a complete mess, then there is no hope for you sheeple.

    August 2, 2009 at 5:06 am |
  10. Clairmont

    Would someone please let the representative know that Medicare is a government run health care system and it works just find. I should not have to pay for both private health care insurance and pay for Medicare. Let everyone who wants and pays for Medicare – receive it. Those who want to keep their for profit health insurance – keep the darn thing but don't take away my right to have the option of getting Medicare. I've paid in for 38 years and want it now. You know, if the Republicans had been in charge of Congress in the early 60's we've never have landed on the moon. They would saying to this day that we needed to study it more or that it would cost too much. Have the republicans ever done anything for the citizens of America besides just scare the hell out of us? Does the representative understand that private insurance companies do not provide any health care. They redistribute money. We don't need these overpriced bookies to redistribute our money between providers, bonus checks for their executives and their 33% overhead.

    August 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  11. Greg Parsons

    What would be wrong with just publishing the content of the actual legislation .. paragraph by paragraph.. leave out all the opinions ... and the politics... let the viewing public actually see what the bill states... then the people can decide if it is good for their situation or not good for them..

    August 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  12. boots

    I find it ironic that the gop senators and congressmen were not worried a bit when we spent trillions of collars to invade Iraq, but now they have a coniption fit when there is talk of money spent to insure Americans. Isn't that just dandy now I think we have some crazy people in washington dc and you know who you are don't you?

    August 1, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  13. H Grossman

    The "rich" 10% of this country have the best health care because they can afford it. They pay the highest premiums, and get good care until it runs out...
    Ten percent of our population ' live on the edge' and sleep anywhere they can.These people are considered 'poor'. They get Welfare, and Medicaid. They have all the health care they need, since the Government pays for what they need.
    The rest of us, approximately 80% either have health care provided by employers, or have to buy their own. Since most Doctors won't see patient without insurance, this is how they RATION health care. In the end, most patients wait until something severe happens, and have to go to the Emergency room. If this happens, they end up with a bill having 'obscene' costs that they can't afford..
    So the time for change is NOW!!! If we get the option of governmental health care, that everyone can afford, all those corrupt insurance companies will have to lower their costs.!!!!

    August 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  14. ronvan

    This is just so much BS! President Obama's plan might be the best or worst thing to happen, but I am so tired of politicans taking sides based on who is paying them that they should be thrown out of office and we start all over. This simple & basic fact is that NO ONE has tired to change or improve our medical system until our current President! And now, all of a sudden, everyone has a plan, their own ideas, again based upon who is paying them, and the end result will be a preverted program that will be designed for the benefit of the Insurance/Medical system and NOT the people! Wouldn't it be a great surprise to have ALL of our elected politicians working together, without throwing stones, to work on any program in the interest of the American people! Don't hold your breath!!

    August 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  15. Julie

    Healthcare costs are out of control. Let's attack the REAL problem. HMO's and other insurers, who say they are nonprofit, but who pay their executives millions (and in the case of a few companies hundreds of millions) of dollars in salaries. Same for the doctors who write a perscription, hustle you out of the office after 15 minutes without figuring out what is wrong, then send you a bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars. The greed in the health industry is second only to the greed on Wall Street.

    If we reformed healthcare to a system like Britain, Canada, or France, we could all be covered for less than it costs to sponsor the war in Iraq. If we got out of Iraq, we could pay for this program without raising taxes.

    August 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  16. Michael

    What I don't understand is why reports have not done their homework when they speak to politicians and pundits on health care. I am a canadian that has lived in both the US and Canada and when I here what people say about socialized medicine makes my blood boil. Of course it isn't perfect but nobody has to give up their house to get an operation! I pick my own doctors, and they are as qualified as any in the world. Politicians need to be held to a higher standard of truth because too many people believe what they say. The senator from texas the stated that 1 in 5 people will be die because of socialzed medicine should be removed from his position because he is not being honest and ignorant people will believe what he is saying.

    Why has nobody in the press mentioned that Canadian live longer than American's? If our system is so bad how can this be? Please, will someone start educating American's so that they can make their decisions from a point of knowledge, not back woods ignorance!

    August 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    1974, this is 2009 filled with a world of technology and innovation that our young people embrace. I am 66 years old and know some things must change which means out with the old guys who complain and want to take our country backwards while 3rd world countries are moving forward. I too am a native of Ohio and I can guarantee you Boehner's small business had no minorities, just people that look like him. The world is changing and Boehner doesn't get it.

    August 1, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  18. Lori

    Small business is one of the things that makes America a great place. Entrepreneurs and small business need to be encouraged. Small businesses are top contributors toward taxes and the economy. We need more people like John Boener in decision-making roles in Washington. He understands America and the reality of life here. Anyone who does not understand this needs to run a small business for a few years to know what it takes to cover overhead (rent, taxes, employee benefits, etc) every month.

    My dad has been a proprietor for fourty years. He is seventy now and is still running a business that sustained us, kept a roof over our heads, put me through college, paid for insurance and fourty-years of doctors visits for a few employees' families. Small business owners like John Boener know the meaning of "making a living." I hope everyone will put their political affiliations aside and make sound decisions based on reality.

    August 1, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  19. Tony in Largo, Fl

    Mr. Wellman,

    I suppose you believe that the roads you drive on, the Damns that provide water for you, the sewer systems that you rely on, the Medicare/Medicaid and the the Social Security System that your parents and grandparents rely on, the FDA, the CDC, the USDA, the FAA, the FCC, the USEPA, the OSHA were all private company imitiatives and are currently run by private firms. I hate to be the one to break the news to you........

    You sound like one of those unfortunate souls out there who repeats what the sub-culture radio pundits spit out. Think for yourself, and the truth will free you.

    August 1, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  20. Linda V

    The key to health insurance reform is controlling costs all around. Why can't they roll back prices across the board to 2 years (or pick a number) and then put a lock on them going forward for another 2. In the meantime, get everything sorted out about how the actual reforms are going to take place. It scares me to death what this program will cost. I just heard of a family who quit their jobs and went on welfare bec. their earnings couldn't support all the taxes and medical costs. These weren't loser, ignorant, free-loading people. They were knowledgeable, middle-class folks that just gave up the good fight trying to lead productive, responsible lives to go on the public dole because they could do better economically that way.

    My husband and I are high school grads, retired now, own our own home outright, paid for our kids college educ. without gov. grants and loans and have lived a conservative, financially responsible life. It simply doesn't pay to do that anymore when there are so many people getting free handouts. I fear for what my kids will have to face in their future.

    August 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  21. Tony in Largo, Fl

    The closer the Health Care Bill gets to passing, the more the Republican obstructionist and nay-sayer opposition becomes irrelevant.

    August 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  22. B. A. Ballard

    We have been paying into the Medicare & Social Security programs for 48 years. Now that it is time for us to get the benefits, some not so smart individual says that the "Federal Government" is picking up the tab. I beg to differ! This money we put in is the money we are getting out! If it were not required by the Federal Government we would have elected to put the money WE EARNED OVER THE YEARS into other places to take care of us in our old age. Now, there are you "progressives" who want to take it from us and give it to those people who can't or couldn't afford to contribute because of some social injustice. Please, give me a break! Now as we age we just need to take a pill and die quietly and you "progressives" can decide what to do with the "Federal Government's" money? FYI the Federal Government doesn't have any money they just don't know it!

    August 1, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  23. Tim Warmer

    I am so over the completely unbalanced coverage on health care reform. Negative stories far outnumber objective or positive ones. You need to do a better job of being balanced. Maybe in addition to stories about Republicans regurgitating lobbyist propaganda you can cover the incredible grassroots movement supporting single payer that helped get the Kucinich amendment passed and now a house vote (Pelosi announced yesterday HR676 will be voted on in Sept. I have to go to the blogosphere to find out the details of the Blue Dog compromises & progressive response. That's real news, so stop serving the insurance companies interests by reporting the propaganda they leak to the media via the GOP & Blue Dogs (whom they own).

    August 1, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  24. Art

    "Health care bill bad for business". It's not about the health of you and your family, it's about money and profit! Shameful.

    August 1, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  25. RLWellman

    Yep, the Government is just one big old bottomless pit when it comes to money. But, where does the money come from? You make it sound like they have more than enough. The Government doesn't have any money, it's us. When they need more, they tax us more. There is no free money!

    If the Government would get their hands and noses out of our business, our insurances wouldn't cost as much as they do. You want socialized medicine, go to Canada!

    August 1, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  26. J.V.Hodgson

    Impressed with your small business credentials but you say nothing about those unemployed in samll business or otherwise (or retired) nor how to take care of those small business employers who do not offer medical cover to thier employees.
    I hear you nevertheless, so put fprward amendments to meet your ERISA needs in the legislative proposals being considered, and stop just opposing waht is fundamentally a reasonable and necessary concept as outlined by Obama... the only question is how... be constructive please not just negative.

    August 1, 2009 at 4:42 am |
  27. Madeline

    Why is everyone ignoring the elephant in the room? We do not have anywhere near the number of primary care physicians needed to cover a universal care system. I watched my daughter-in-law graduate from medical school two years ago, and she is one of the few from her class that is currently in a residency program for family practice. Most of her classmates were entering specialties, and this is true across the nation. This is putting the cart before the horse. Consider the fact that is takes 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency just to enter the primary care field. If the government want to see this program be successful, it needs to find a way to increase the number of doctors choosing family practice coming out of medical schools before opening the floodgates for universal care. Otherwise we will end up like the attempt in Massachusetts that is failing because they have too few primary care doctors, and the emergency rooms are going under as well as the finances of the state. Anderson, will you look into this?

    August 1, 2009 at 2:57 am |
  28. carol kesling

    john boehner and the rest of the people in the house and senate etc. dont care about health care because they have the BEST health care in the U.S. and they should not go on RECESS until they get things done for the small people like me and others. they spend too much time on RECESS and very little time getting things done !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!they ALL should be thrown out of office & we should start from scratch..

    August 1, 2009 at 2:14 am |
  29. Dr.E.Pomer

    I am appalled at the drug industry (and Republican??) ad about a supposedly Canadian woman who says she had to wait 6 months for treatment of a brain tumour. I can assure you this is CANNOT be true. My best friend felt a lump in her breast; the next day she saw her general practitioner; the following day she had a biopsy; and, 3 days later she saw an oncologist. We may have long waiting lists for non-emergency surgeries but our medical system responds beyond reproach to life threatening illnesses.

    And God forbid you should have anything like the Canadian model of health care as we Canadians are surely 'socialists' with our right wing Prime Minister. (And throughout North American and Europe, Canada is the only country where not one bank went under of required government bailouts. Why? Because our banks are highly regulated. Again we must be 'socialists'!) Such is not socialism; rather we provide health care for ALL our citizens, regardless of income. Surely it is time for the U.S. and especially Republicans to see that your current system is going to bankrupt your country over time and an investment now in health care will, over time, save Americans billions of dollars and allow the U.S. to stand taller as a country that provides health care for all.

    July 31, 2009 at 11:40 pm |
  30. Ann-Virginia

    R.L.Wellman,You should be ashamed of yourself.How un-American can any person be to spew lies.

    July 31, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  31. Ann-Virginia

    "John Boehner,leader of"NO"politics in the house"is anti-anything that is good for the country.The Republicans are now known as "the party of no."We would be better off if he would go back to Ohio to run his little plastics business.This man has never heard of bi-partisianship.

    July 31, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  32. Annie Kate

    The fact should not be forgotten that many businesses in the last few years have dropped health insurance from their benefits portfolio as well as pension benefits. And they don't give you much notice either. One day you have it, the next day you don't. I think a great many people who currently have company insurance benefits will like the new program and want to change to it since they don't need to worry about it going away.

    July 31, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  33. susan

    The big story is how the Republicans and their cronies are lying about what Obama says he wants in the health care bill. Check out what Rep Cantor said on your station after Obama's AARP speach/town hall Tuesday. Not to mention what's going on with the FOX news loons.
    Please do something about the lying. The seniors are going to get sick over this. The GOP does not care if what they say is a lie, they don't care if they scare and confuse.
    Why not cover this?

    July 31, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  34. RLWellman

    Yea let's just make it all socialized! Let's just put another Government official between us and our doctors. Let's just give them the say if we can see our doctor or not.

    Let's let them try and run nationalized health care. After all, look how good they run Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Post Office, and the VA Hospitals. They have to get something right sometime, don't they?

    Just a side note. President Obama just appointed two devout Muslims to head up homeland security. Wasn't it devout Muslims who flew the planes into the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon. Doesn't that give you a warm, fuzzy feeling?

    July 31, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  35. Jay

    Joanne – how are we to pay for the war you wanted with Iraq if we do not raise taxes?

    July 31, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  36. Charles

    The Greedy Old Party pushed their "no regulation-give to the rich-trickledown" policies and created this mess we are in! Now they want to protect the health insurance co's profits and ignore the suffering of the uninsured...AGAIN!!! Are there really people stupid enough to believe ANYTHING these conservatives say?!

    July 31, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  37. Joanne R. Pacicca

    The blog above this one is "Reform is too good to pass us", this blog is dedicated, rightfully so, to restricting business from traditional benefit plans by red tape and new law. Essentially this opens up a tax base on a state-to-state level...another way for the President to keep his promise regarding those making 6 figures on the Federal level...while allowing, or rather, opening the door for states to over-tax business and the working public!

    July 31, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  38. earle,florida

    This humbled latter-day anthropoid has swollowed just about enough viral rhetoric from both sides of the isle,that would implode a dromedaries stomach. The entire Obama Administration is waterboarding the public,prevaricating the true transparency his "Change Mandate" was meant to have created,with a movement so fast,and furious that "Dave Letterman" would be stumped to find words for debate. One day (actually yesterday) Pelosi says, no illegal immigrants would be entitled on the "Health Insurance Reform Act",and today the news comes out and says, there's absolutely nothing written into the legislation to prevent it from happening,what gives? This number equates to approximately "Ten Million Illegals",and if you factor in the 3%+ that just don't care,you get approximately "Seven Million" ,which adds up to approx.17 Million people of the approximately 46million without (note:US Population is approx.315million) insurance,interesting to say the least. So, my arithmetic that isn't fuzzy grey-matter, comes up with approx.29 million,a far cry from the original 50 million once bandied about. If our total population is 315million people,were looking at less than 10% of the population,basically hardship,and medicaid cases. So,what's the rush? The since of urgency, from the left or,the right? Now,a more important issue is filling the donut-hole, which is just good sound practical pastry etiquette for the millions that do fall into this (abyss/cracks) financial nightmare.What must be done is to "Tweak the System",no traumatic changes,in a word tweak the system,period,as a sparrow in a treetop,....

    July 31, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  39. Michael C. McHugh

    PS I certainly don't mind expanding support for public hospitals and clinics, and paying for the education of medical personnel in return for them agreeing to work in underserved areas. Of course, that really IS socialized medicine in the true sense, operated not for-profit but as a public service. We shouldn't use the "s" word to describe it, of course, since that is a big scare word, and about half of the people on Medicare don't even seem to be aware that the Federal government is picking up the tab. Maybe it's time to remind them.

    July 31, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  40. Michael C. McHugh

    The Republicans know very well that this health care reform bill isn't socialized medicine like the NHS in Britain, since Obama has not called for nationalizing the hospitals and putting the staff on the government payroll. That is is the only real form of socialism that I know of, when the government actually owns something outright.

    It isn't even a single payer system like they have in Canada, since it is means tested, and no one over 400% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for expanded Medicare or subsidized private insurance–300% if the Dixiecrats get their way.

    Of course, there is an amendment to the bill that will allow states to set up a single payer system if they so choose, which is what we progressives really wanted all the time. We are they ones who made the big compromise here by settling for expanding the Medicare program and subsidizing private insurance rather than going all out for a Canadian-style system–and survey after survey shows that 80% or more of Canadians like their system and wouldn't trade it for ours.

    If some states are going to opt out of reform totally, or be allowed to set up some cooperatives, then it's only fair that others will be allowed to have single payer or the public option if they want it.

    July 31, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  41. cat

    He need to choose his allies w/care either he is for the American peole or he is for Big Business, If he wants to keep his seat he better pass a health care option that is in favor of the American people and stop making up lies as to why not.
    American people want a social public plan that they can choose from amongst the captialist health plans, A plan that will allow all americans who want insurance to purchase at an afforable price.

    July 31, 2009 at 1:18 pm |