Kansas Republicans in the U.S. House on Thursday blasted health care reform legislation that the Democratic leadership unveiled.
“After weeks of meetings behind closed doors, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats emerged from their one-sided meetings today to unveil their nearly 2,000-page plan for a government takeover of health care,” said Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Topeka Republican who represents western Lawrence.
The state’s lone Democrat in Congress, Rep. Dennis Moore, of Lenexa, whose district includes eastern Lawrence, said he and his staff needed to look into the complex bill.
“I have to start reviewing and come up with my decision and how I want to vote on this,” Moore said in a telephone interview.
During a Thursday morning ceremony in Washington, Pelosi touted the measure, H.R. 3962, saying it “covers 96 percent of all Americans, and it puts affordable coverage in reach of millions of uninsured and underinsured families.”
But Republicans on Capitol Hill decried that the bill used the word “shall” 3,425 times and claimed Pelosi shut Republicans out of the process.
“Instead of a fresh proposal, we got an additional 1,000 pages of government intrusion,” said Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard.
The bill includes a version backed by moderates of a public health insurance option that allows doctors, hospitals and providers to negotiate rates with the government under the option.
Moore has said previously he would support a public option under the right circumstances, as a way to create competition.
The full House is expected to vote on the bill next week, and with an overwhelming Democratic majority in the House, the GOP would need to convince at least 39 Democrats not to support it.
Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, said although the health care system needs reform, the bill was not a good starting point.
“This bill seeks to expand insurance coverage by levying taxes on businesses, cutting Medicare benefits, eliminating jobs with an employer mandate, and enabling bureaucrats to define what forms of health coverage are acceptable for Americans,” Moran said.