Democrats wasted no time Tuesday launching an offensive against Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), tapped yesterday to deliver the televised Republican response to the president's health care address.
Among the party's attacks: Boustany, a doctor and member of the House Ways and Means Committee, has voted against the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), did not support a supplemental appropriations bill that included an increase in flu funding and declined to expand the COBRA insurance program.
"Congressman Boustany's no votes on issues ranging from
providing health insurance for children, to fighting pandemic flu, to keeping
the doors open at community health centers makes him a credible voice
for special interests, but not for hardworking Louisianians who struggle with
health insurance companies," noted Jessica Santillo, Southern Regional Press
Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Boustany, however, views his previous "no" votes much differently. On S-CHIP, for instance, Boustany said in January he would have preferred an expansion of the program by different means.
"I proudly support S-CHIP, so we must ensure our children are getting the quality healthcare they need," he said before the floor vote. "A massive increase of S-CHIP further neglects those children who already slipped through the cracks. These children need to see a doctor to receive care."
The Louisiana congressman has similarly chided Democrats for considering cost -- more so than care and effectiveness -- when drafting and implementing a host of other health care reforms, including the public option. Boustany will air that critique again, tonight, during his response to the president's address, he suggested.
"As a doctor, I know we must lower costs and improve care, which we can accomplish by focusing on strengthening the doctor-patient relationship and working in a bipartisan way," Boustany said following the announcement. "Health care is a kitchen table issue that affects all Americans, and I believe we need an honest discussion about how we come together to fix what’s broken, while building on what works."