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GOP: Healthcare reform deals 'shameful'

Oct. 24, 2009 at 2:26 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Democratic leaders are using "shameful backroom deals" to reach a healthcare reform agreement, a Republican U.S. senator said Saturday.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., speaking in the weekly GOP radio and Internet address, took aim at merger negotiations in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other Democratic leaders are attempting to meld several versions of healthcare reform measures into a single bill, saying the process is "full of carve-outs and backroom deals (and) is currently being brokered behind closed doors."

"Reports of this deal-making are shameful," Johanns said. "Why do Michigan, Rhode Island, Oregon and Nevada get special deals on Medicaid costs? Why do New Yorkers with Cadillac plans get a pass on paying the tax? It is shameful."

Johanns, saying the negotiations to merge the bills are being held beyond the view of the public, decried a mandate for healthy, younger Americans to buy insurance and other specific proposals contained in the bills.

"The bottom line is this: We're nearing 10 percent unemployment," he said. "We have a record budget deficit ... . These proposals will negatively impact pocketbooks and paychecks across America."

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