Republicans Scold HELP Democrats Over Reform Bill’s Price Tag, Government Control
"It was particularly devastating on Wednesday when [Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah]" a longtime friend of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., "warned Democrats on the panel that they have already made some grave errors in their effort to write legislation overhauling the health care system," reports the New York Times in The Caucus Blog. "Now unfortunately we are beginning a partisan exercise on perhaps the most important legislation of our lives," Hatch said during a meeting of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday (Herszenhorn, 6/17).
Hatch wasn't the only Republican to offer Democrats rejoinders on health reform. "[J]ust about every other Republican on the committee ripped the bill's price tag, which exceeds more than $1 trillion because of new subsidies for the poor," the Salt Lake Tribune reports (Canham, 6/17).
Also at the HELP Committee's mark up Wednesday, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said, "This is a greased slide to single-payer. It's not about the issue of care. It's not about the issue of coverage. It's more about the issue of control What it is about really is centralizing control right here amongst folks who think they really know how to run something from a central system," reports the NYT's Caucus in a separate item.
Gregg's comments earned "the most memorable line of [the] proceedings" form Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who said, "This bill has just been accused of being somehow or another a combination between Rube Goldberg and Karl Marx. However, our current system is a combination of Adam Smith, Darth Vader and the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. So I like our plan the better" (Herszenhorn, 6/17).
On the House side, Republicans outlined their own plan for health reform and attacked the cost of the Senate Democrat's proposals, Politico reports (6/17).