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Republicans Call for Health-Care Reform Replacement

  • Kent Klein

Even though the heated legislative battles over U.S. President Barack Obama's recently-signed health reform bill are over, both political parties are still trying to win the fight for public opinion. Opposition Republicans say the plan should be repealed.

The top Senate Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, admits President Obama won a political victory by getting his health care overhaul passed. But he contends the new law will lead to higher taxes and government intervention in people's health care.

"Democratic leaders and White House officials may be celebrating their victory this week, but most of the rest of the country is not. Most people are not interested in celebrating a bill that makes their lives more complicated, takes more out of their paychecks and puts decisions they are used to making themselves into the hands of federal bureaucrats," he said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama will sign into law the final changes to the health care bill, which lawmakers approved last Thursday.

Congress passed the main health bill earlier in the week, with no Republican votes.

In the weekly Republican radio and Internet address Saturday, Senator McConnell says Americans want the legislation scrapped. "In one of the most divisive legislative debates in modern history, Democrats decided to go the partisan route and blatantly ignore the will of the people. Americans opposed this legislation, and now they are clamoring to see it repealed and replaced," he said.

Almost half the Americans surveyed by Quinnipiac University oppose the new health reform law, while 40 percent are in favor.

Even with the legislation passed and signed, President Obama continues to campaign for it. One day after signing the main health care bill, the president told a rally in the Central state of Iowa he believes Americans will reject the Republicans' call to repeal it. "They are actually going to run on a platform of repeal in November. You have been hearing that. And my attitude is: Go for it," he said.

Mr. Obama will hold a similar rally in the Northeastern city of Portland, Maine on Thursday.

Passions have been running high since last Tuesday's bill signing. Some pro-health care lawmakers have received death threats, and some of their offices have been vandalized.

At least a dozen U.S. states are suing to challenge the constitutionality of the new law, contending that the government cannot require citizens to buy health care insurance.

The overhaul legislation is intended to provide health insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans who do not have it.

The Obama administration says it will also prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to people with existing medical problems, and cut taxes for small businesses that offer health insurance to their employees.

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