All - 4 quick things before ABC's health care special with President Obama.
1) Be sure to access GOP.COM/LIVERESPONSE to see the RNC's live response to President Obama tonight.
2) U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ranking Republican on House Budget Committee and Ways and Means Committee member, will appear on ABC's Good Morning American tomorrow morning to offer a response to President Obama's health care town hall.
3) Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement on President Obama's government-run health care agenda.
"Today, a major national TV network will turn its airwaves over to President Obama to promote the Democrats' government-run health care plan. President Obama has said he wants a bipartisan discussion, yet he has chosen to exclude Republican voices from ABC's special health care programming on Wednesday night. This is the height of hypocrisy.
"Republicans believe every American deserves quality, affordable health care and want bipartisan reform that will reduce costs and put patients and doctors, not bureaucrats, in control of their families' medical decisions. When President Obama says public option, he means government-run health care. Without question, the government takeover of healthcare will diminish individual freedom and quality in our health care system.
"Republicans want real health care reform not another government takeover that Americans simply cannot afford."
4) As a reminder, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell hopes President Obama will answer 5 important health care questions tonight.
Five Questions for the Administration on Health Care
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding the importance of getting it right on health care reform:
"When it comes to reforming health care, Republicans believe that both political parties should work together to make it less expensive and easier to obtain, while preserving what people like about our current system.
"That's why Republicans have put forward ideas that should be easy for everyone to support, such as reforming medical malpractice laws to get rid of junk lawsuits; encouraging wellness and prevention programs that have already been shown to cut costs; and addressing the needs of small businesses without imposing taxes that will kill jobs.
"Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have opted against many of these common-sense proposals, moving instead in the direction of a government-run system that denies, delays, and rations care.
"So it's my hope that the President uses his prime time question and answer session at the White House tonight to clearly express where he himself comes down on a number of crucial questions.
"One question relates to whether Americans would be able to keep the care they have if the Democrat plan is enacted. The President and Democrats in Congress have repeatedly promised Americans they could keep their health insurance. Yet the independent Congressional Budget Office says that just one section of the Democrat bill being rushed through Congress at the moment would cause 10 million people with employer-based insurance to lose the coverage they have.
"Another independent study of a full proposal that includes a government run plan estimates that 119 million Americans, or approximately 70 percent of those covered under private health insurance, could lose the health insurance they have as a consequence of a government plan. America's doctors have also warned that a government plan threatens to drive private insurers out of business. And yesterday, the President himself acknowledged that under a government plan, some people might be shifted off of their current insurance.
"So the first question is this: Will the President veto any legislation that causes Americans to lose their private insurance?
"The President also said that health care reform can't add to the already-staggering national debt. Yet once again, the Congressional Budget Office has said that just one section of the Democrats' HELP bill would spend 1.3 trillion dollars, while others estimate the whole thing could end up spending more than two trillion dollars. And here's how the CBO put it: 'the substantial costs of many current proposals to expand federal subsidies for health insurance would be much more likely to worsen the long-run budget outlook than to improve it.'
"Let me repeat that. The Congressional Budget Office says that some of the proposals in the Democrats' bill would be much more likely to worsen the long-run budget outlook than to improve it.
"So the second question is this: Will the President veto a bill that adds to the nation's already staggering deficit?
"The President has said that no middle-class Americans would see their taxes raised a penny. Yet Democrats on Capitol Hill are considering proposals, such as a plan to limit tax deductions for medical costs, that would not only raise taxes on middle class families, but that would hit these families the hardest.
"So the third question is this: Will the President veto any legislation that raises taxes on the middle class?
"The President has said he supports wellness and prevention programs that have proven to cut costs and improve care by encouraging people to make healthy choices, like quitting smoking and fighting obesity. One such program is the so-called Safeway plan, which has dramatically cut that company's costs and employee premiums. Yet the bill Democrats are rushing through the Senate would actually ban the key provisions of the Safeway program from being implemented by other companies.
"So the fourth question is this: Does the President support the HELP Committee bill, which bans providing incentives for healthy behavior, and will he veto legislation that bans these kinds of programs?
"Finally, the President has said that government shouldn't dictate the kind of care Americans receive. On this issue, the President has no stronger supporters than Republicans. But Democrats on the HELP Committee rejected a Republican amendment that would have prohibited a Democrat-proposed government board from rationing care or denying lifesaving treatments because they are too expensive.
"So the fifth question is this: Does the President support the Republican amendment to prohibit the rationing of care, and will he veto legislation that allows the government to deny, delay, and ration care?
"Five questions: Will the President use his veto pen to make sure Americans aren't kicked off their current health plans? Will he oppose any legislation that increases the nation's deficit? Will he oppose any bill that raises taxes on middle-class families? Will he reject any bill that excludes common-sense wellness and prevention programs that have been proven to cut costs and improve care? And will he disavow legislation that denies, delays, and rations care?
"The American people want Republicans and Democrats to work together to enact health care reform, but they want the right kind of reform - not a massive government takeover that forces them off of their current insurance and denies, delays, and rations care. Americans are right to be concerned about what they're hearing from Democrats. It's my hope that the President addresses those concerns tonight once and for all."