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North Carolina Democrats Say House Health Bill on Track

Two North Carolina Democratic House Members said Tuesday that the House health care bill remains on track to pass later this year and attacked Republican plans as too friendly to the health insurance industry.In a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee, Reps. Brad Miller and Bob Etheridge accused Congressional Republicans of recycling failed health care ideas. The duo were hoping to counter a GOP North Carolina event featuring Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Richard Burr (N.C.) as well as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Etheridge said Republicans, to the extent they have plans to reform the health care system, are simply repackaging old ideas that Americans have previously rejected. Etheridge said Republican plans do nothing to close the “doughnut hole— in the Medicare prescription drug benefit, nor do they ensure coverage for preventive services or prevent the costs of treating illness from bankrupting families.“What it really does is pass a lot of the financial burden down to states,— Etheridge said of GOP proposals, which he said would create state high-risk pools for people unable to get affordable insurance because of pre-existing conditions.“It really leaves the individual right where they are today, to negotiate with the insurance companies,— Etheridge said. “Once again, you’re on your own.—Miller said Democrats and the media need to do a better job of explaining what is and isn’t in their health care legislation. “What people don’t like about the plan isn’t in the plan and what they would like the plan to do is actually what it does,— Miller said. “There has been very little coverage of what the plan actually does.—Miller said he believes the House is ready to move forward with its bill this month. House Democrats put off taking a vote on a package before the August recess, which began in late July.Etheridge, who is considering a Senate run against Burr, seemed more cautious, saying he expects a bill to get done this year. He said the basic framework of the House legislation is sound but suggested that it still “needed some work.—

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