Murkowski Urges Senate to Start Over on Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement expressing disappointment at this week's health care developments:

"It seems clear to me, after reviewing the White House health care proposal and watching Thursday's health care summit, that President Obama and congressional Democrats are intent on forcing a health care bill through Congress that the American people in poll after poll have roundly rejected.

"The White House ‘proposal' was little more than a rehash of the 2,773-page bill that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve with no Republican support. Even before a Congressional Budget Office score, the administration admitted the price tag would increase by nearly $100 billion over the cost of the Senate-passed bill. With the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services already stating that the Senate bill would raise, not lower, health care costs, it's clear that the White House proposal fails the primary objective of health care reform -- reigning in the spiraling cost of health care spending.

"While I was somewhat hopeful that the summit might have led to a way forward, it was clear by the end of the seven-hour meeting that the President and congressional Democrats are intent on ramming through a version of the Senate-passed bill, without any Republican support, that will cost more than $2.5 trillion over 10 years. Press accounts say the Democrats plan to do this by using a parliamentary maneuver, called reconciliation, to circumvent the will of the American people. While reconciliation has been used before, it has never been applied to such a sweeping piece of legislation that affects one-sixth of the nation's economy.

"We need to scrap these partisan bills and start over, taking a step-by-step approach that will lower costs without requiring a Washington takeover of health care. This includes doing away with pre-existing condition restrictions, eliminating yearly and lifetime insurance limits, enacting junk lawsuit reforms, seeking to reduce costs by reimbursing for quality and not quantity of services and allowing insurers to sell across state lines."

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