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GOP: Our health plans ignored
The Republican Study Committee, a bloc of more than 100 conservative House Republicans, Wednesday issued a list of 35 bills introduced by its members touching on some aspect of the health debate.
But Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have yet to endorse any of the comprehensive reform bills. House leaders released a draft reform proposal of their own in June, but haven’t followed up with an actual bill, leaving them open to Democratic charges they are not offering solutions.
“I think the ball is in the president’s court,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.
“It is frustrating, but the American people are wise to it,” Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican and chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said of the Democrats’ accusations.
“They know there are other plans out there,” said Mr. Price. The Democratic attacks “decrease their credibility and [increase] further the lack of trust the American people have in the president” and top congressional Democrats.
There are a number of issues on which both parties agree. Insurance industry reforms, such as eliminating the cap on lifetime coverage and a ban on denying patients with pre-existing medical conditions, are popular with lawmakers in both parties.
Mr. Obama, in his congressional address Wednesday night, said the emerging health care reform bill he favors incorporates both Democratic and Republican ideas.
He embraced several Republican-inspired ideas in the speech, including a pilot program aimed at curbing medical malpractice lawsuits — an issue that Republican lawmakers have stressed in recent weeks. He said his administration would launch the initiative on its own and will not seek to include the program in the bill.
The president also reached out to his 2008 Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, endorsing the creation a high-risk pool that would help people with pre-existing conditions afford huge medical bills.
But at the same time, Mr. Obama hinted broadly there were still some in the minority party not interested in compromise at any level.
“I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it,” the president said.
• Kara Rowland contributed to this report.
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