GOP uses national TV forum to attack Democrats on health care

August 02, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- Republican leaders denounced the Democratic approach to health reform last night in a nationally televised policy forum amid an intense behind-the-scenes debate over what strategy the GOP should pursue on the issue that now dominates the national political landscape.

The hourlong program, carried live by C-Span and various satellite hookups, was heralded as an attempt to show Americans that the GOP has its own solution to the nation's health care problems.

Most of the time was spent depicting what the Republicans say the nation has to fear from the remedies proposed by President Clinton and congressional Democrats.

Republican House whip Newt Gingrich of Georgia and Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour spearheaded the assault, contending that Democratic-backed changes would lower the quality of care, limit its availability, raise taxes and prices, lower wages and eliminate jobs.

"A law that hurts the quality of medical care is a serious risk to your health," said Mr. Barbour, summing up the theme of the evening.

Republicans said the Democrats were in too much of a hurry to push health care legislation through before Congress leaves for its summer recess in two weeks. "You are bound to do very dumb things when you legislate in such a hasty manner," Mr. Gingrich said. Other Republican lawmakers on hand were Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood and Florida Sen. Connie Mack.

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