‘Top Line’ — Waiting on GOP Health Care Plan

By Caitlin Taylor

Jul 28, 2009 1:55pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: With Democrats arguing with themselves over the best way forward on health care reform, Republicans are hardly eager to offer alternative proposals that would distract political attention from the intramural squabbling.  Yet those efforts continue. On Thursday, the conservative House Republican Study Committee plans to offer its reform plan, the group’s chairman, Rep. Tom Price, told us today on ABCNews.com’s “Top Line.”   The plan — estimated to cost between $600 billion to $700 billion over 10 years, though with funding mechanisms that backers say wouldn’t add to the deficit — will be a “patient-centered system that makes it so that patients and their families along with doctors are able to make medical decisions, health care decisions instead of having a bureaucrat, government bureaucrat inserted into the middle of that,” said Price, R-Ga., a medical doctor. “What it’ll do is make it so that it’s financially feasible [to obtain health coverage], attractive — and foolish for anybody not to be insured through the tax code,” Price told us. But this won’t be the official House Republican leadership proposal that’s been promised by Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other top Republicans.  A House leadership aide said Republicans won’t unveil the text of the leadership proposal until they are told by Democratic leaders what form they’ll be able to offer it on the House floor. GOP leaders, according to the aide, are still working with the Congressional Budget Office to craft the final language of the bill. In any event, House Republicans would rather not have their plan picked apart so long as Democratic infighting is dominating the storylines: “Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus?” Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who is heading up GOP health care reform efforts in the House, said last week.  Price today echoed that sentiment: “What we’ve been encouraging all along is the politicians here in Washington to listen to the American people, and I think that’s what you’re seeing. What we see [among] the moderate Democrats and certainly on our side is that we believe the American people aren’t behind the bill that’s before us in the House of Representatives, a bill that would in essence be a government takeover of our health care system. And that’s why you’re seeing this slow-down on the House side.” Watch our full interview with Rep. Tom Price HERE. We also chatted with Republican strategist Kevin Madden about the health care debate, plus President Obama’s attempt to put controversy over the Harvard professor arrested in his home behind him. (Madden is calling it the “Mug it Out then Hug It Out” summit.)  Click HERE to see the interview with Kevin Madden.

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