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Grassley sticks with health bill

Grassley sticks with health bill


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -Republicans calling for the defeat of President Obama's health-care reform plan may not like the outcome if they are successful, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, warned Wednesday.

Obama's opponents may be misguided in thinking the president's loss on health care is to their advantage, said Grassley, who noted there is no Obama health-care plan.

"I would suggest there have been some Republicans who haven't been looking at the polls," he said in his weekly conference calls with Iowa reporters. "If we don't do something on health-care reform, the voters are more apt to blame Republicans than Democrats."

He referred to a poll showing voters would assign blame 30 percent to the health industry, 22 to Republicans, 11 percent to Democrats and only 4 percent to Obama.

"So it seems to me that we have a responsibility to the Republican Party not to be seen as destroying or at least not talking about things that people believe are wrong with the present health-care system," Grassley said.

Although surveys have shown 82 percent of Americans are satisfied with the insurance they have, many of them say there are things wrong with the health-care system that need to be fixed.

So Grassley will continue to seek a bipartisan plan that will make health-care accessible and affordable as well as reduce overall health-care costs despite urgings from Republicans and conservative groups to walk away from those efforts.

The Republican Party of Iowa called health-care reform an "experiment Iowa cannot afford." The American Future Fund earlier this week said Grassley, as the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee considering health-care legislation, "holds the magic ticket" to stopping congressional health-care reform. It told members to "encourage and support him" to abandon his efforts.

That doesn't make sense to Grassley.

"I would think that with the development of what the Democrats want to do," he said referring to calls for a government-run health insurance plan, raising taxes that will increase the cost of health care, "I would think they'd appreciate having a Republican at the table."

He also warned that plans finding their way through the Democratic-controlled Congress "are probably even worse than what (Obama) would have submitted to Congress" based on his campaign promises.

As a candidate, Obama didn't call for single-payer national health insurance, Grassley said, and he called for an incremental approach rather than the massive shifts being pursued in the House and in the Senate Health Committee.


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