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Republican says Dems ignoring health care concerns

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[September 26, 2009]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans say Democrats have ignored the public's concerns in drafting new health care legislation under debate in the Senate Finance Committee.

Democrats are giving the public anything but an "open, honest and bipartisan debate," Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said in the GOP's weekly radio and Internet address.

The Finance Committee is the last of five congressional committees to take up health care legislation, which tops President Barack Obama's domestic agenda.

Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., negotiated with top Republicans on the panel for weeks before talks broke down. Baucus' bill leaves out a primary demand of many Democrats - that reform include a government insurance option - and it has a lower price tag than other Democratic proposals.

But Isakson and other Republicans say it's still too costly and would require too much government intrusion into the health care system. Only one Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, appears to be considering supporting it.

At its core, the bill is designed to expand health insurance coverage to millions of people who lack it, employing a new system of federal subsidies for lower-income individuals and families and establishing an insurance exchange in which coverage would have federally guaranteed benefits.

Insurance companies would be prohibited from refusing to sell insurance based on a person's health history, and limits would be imposed on higher premiums based on age.


On the Net:

GOP address: http://www.youtube.com/user/gopweeklyaddress

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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