If Democrats were to bring President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform package to the House floor today it would likely fail, according to Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
Blackburn told Newsmax.TV that Democrats lack enough votes to pass the controversial legislation, which passed the House in a slightly different form than the president’s current plan by a 220-215 margin last November.
Numerous Democrats, such as Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, have said they will not vote for the bill because the Senate bill lacks the strong language barring federal funds from going to health plans that provide abortions contained in the amendment he co-authored with Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Joe Pitts.
“The legislation is expensive – it’s still around a trillion dollars,” Blackburn said.
She pointed to an experiment with an expansion of Medicaid in her home state, known as TennCare, as an indication of what could happen if the Obama healthcare plan becomes law.
“Within a few years of going on the books, that program had quadrupled in its cost,” she said. “We are looking at a plan that they say … is a trillion dollars, and that is what it is going to cost.
“Pretty soon it is going to be $4 trillion when we are looking at a $13 trillion debt; this is just too expensive to afford.”
Blackburn said the recent healthcare summit between Obama, the Democratic leadership and Republicans offered an opportunity for the public to see alternative healthcare ideas that would not increase the national debt.
“The Democratic leadership kind of thought this was … a check-the-box activity,” she said. “They’ve not listened to us enough to appreciate the validity of our ideas, and they thought this would be a show that they could run … and they were probably a bit surprised with how well-prepared we were.”
The summit forced Obama and his fellow Democrats to listen to Republican ideas, but she was disappointed with their refusal to discuss plans to expand Medicaid or the public option.
But it remains up to the American people, she said, to keep enough pressure on Congress to kill the bill in spite of Obama’s Easter deadline for passage.
“We know of individuals … all across this country who are weighing in, contacting their representatives and their Senators,” Blackburn said. “They are saying, ‘Please vote no.’”
Blackburn said Republicans want the American people to know what the bill contains, so they can make informed decisions.
“The more often they find out, the more often they contact us and say: ‘We want you to be a no vote on this.’”
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