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Healthcare debate bites dog days of August

Aug. 3, 2009 at 7:52 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. healthcare debate will move from Washington to local venues as Congress heads home for the August recess.

The Obama administration, Republicans, Democrats and special interest groups will use the time to explain their points of view to the public via town hall meetings, television advertising and grass-roots lobbying, The New York Times reported Monday.

"I think what we want to communicate is that this is going to give people who have insurance a degree of security and stability, the protection that they don't have today against the sort of mercurial judgments of insurance bureaucrats," senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said of the administration's and supporters' efforts.

Republicans will be busy as well, with Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming, both physicians, taking their Internet program, "Senate Doctors Show" on the road to argue that the Democratic plan won't improve care or drive down costs, the Times said.

House Republican leaders distributed an information packet to colleagues Friday, urging them to argue the Democrats' plan would include "more than $800 billion in new tax hikes" and "harmful cuts" to Medicare, the Times said.

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