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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

From Florida, sharply different views of the GOP health care plan



With debate winding down in the U.S. House, the GOP today offered its own health care plan (summary here) that focuses on reducing costs rather than extending coverage to most Americans.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, lauded it as a "common sense approach" and asserted that focusing on lowering premiums would make coverage more accessible. He touted an emphasis on tort reform, or what the GOP calls "junk lawsuits," and said the plan left Medicare Advantage funding untouched and does not impose new taxes. "These are consensus issues," he said.

But U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, said the plan amounted to the "health insurance company protection act." In a statement, she blasted various aspects of the proposal including the lack of safeguards against companies that deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. "It’s time for Republicans to get the message: Americans want real reform," she said. "Instead of handing out favors to big insurance companies, Republicans should work with President Obama and Democrats in Congress to pass the health insurance reform our country needs.”

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:26pm]


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