GOP Leaders Urge Obama to Scrap Public Option

Posted September 9, 2009 at 1:30pm

Congressional Republican leaders said President Barack Obama’s address to Congress on Wednesday night would test whether the president listened to the American people over the August recess, and they urged him not to use the speech to promote the public insurance option.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters that he was looking forward to hosting Obama inside the House chamber, but didn’t believe he would use the speech to scrap the public insurance option.

“It appears the president is going to double down tonight and try to put lipstick on this pig and call it something else,— Boehner said. “It’s a phrase that’s used around here many times, but it appears the president is going down this path.—

Boehner said the public concern over the public insurance option should prompt Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders to reconsider the wisdom of including that component in health care reform.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the White House and the Congress should focus instead on reforming health care incrementally, instead of overhauling the entire system.

“We don’t think a comprehensive approach is the way to go,— McConnell said. “I personally think a better way to go at it is to do some of these bills individually and target the problem.—

Boehner and McConnell said the House should start over with a bipartisan approach to the issue.

McConnell listed several reforms where bipartisan agreement could be reached such as by eliminating “junk lawsuits,— lowering the cost of health care and implementing insurance reforms.

“You have to be suspicious of a bill that has over 1,000 pages. The bigger these bills get, the more complicated they get, the more costly they get, the more opportunity there is for mischief,— McConnell said. “What we ought to do is skinny this thing down, target the problems in the system that we can all agree on and try to go forward on a bipartisan basis.—