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GOP Senators Demand Details on Democratic Health Plans

Senate Republicans on Tuesday pushed back against Democratic plans to pass a health care reform bill before the August recess, demanding that the majority provide more details about what they are proposing and allow for more time to debate the forthcoming package.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the three Democratic Senators in charge of crafting a reform bill, the Republicans on the Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees reiterated their commitment to a bipartisan bill. But these Republicans indicated that more legislative details —and time to consider them — are necessary.

The letter went to Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.); Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.); and Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.), the No. 2 Democrat on HELP.

“While expedience can sometimes be a virtue, it cannot be placed above the need to implement sound, well considered policy. We believe that the best way to achieve our shared desire for a bipartisan bill is to ensure that our deliberations receive the full consideration that the overhaul of our health system deserves,— the letter reads.

The Republicans on the Finance and HELP panels, where the Senate health care bill is being negotiated on two tracks, made three requests. They asked for more details on the bills scheduled to be marked up in each committee beginning next week, that “sufficient time— be allowed for the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to determine the costs of any proposal, and that more information be made available about how the reform would be paid for.

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