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Carnahan, Blunt Worlds Apart on Senate Health Care Priorities
Robin Carnahan, Missouri’s Democratic secretary of state

As the U.S. Senate works toward passage of health care legislation, it is becoming increasingly clear that the leading Republican and Democratic contenders to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Kit Bond view health care from quite different perspectives.

It is Bond and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill who will cast Missouri’s votes in the current health care debate, but it will likely be Roy Blunt, a Republican congressman from southwest Missouri, and Robin Carnahan, Missouri’s Democratic secretary of state, that voters will have to choose between when they pick Bond’s successor in November 2010.

Blunt, a member of the House Republican leadership, is chairman of the G.O.P. Health Care Solutions Group. Blunt voted with all but one of his House Republican colleagues against the Democratic bill that narrowly passed the House and which has been hailed as a milestone in President Barack Obama’s campaign to reform health care.

After voting against the House bill, Blunt said in a statement, “As I’ve met with patients, doctors, small business owners, and families to talk about health care, one thing is very clear: Missourians want to keep what works and fix what is broken.

“They are tired of bills whose importance is measured in length, rather than effectiveness.” Blunt continued. “But tonight the Washington Democrats’ response was to ram through a budget-busting 2,000-plus-page health care plan with bipartisan opposition. This is more of the same go-it-alone approach they have used to lock Republicans out of the process from the start….”

Contacted by KCTribune.com, Robin Carnahan called for a halt to partisanship on health care legislation so the nation can resolve its health care crisis and then address other urgent problems.

“The bottom line is that Congress needs to stop the partisan bickering, get health care reform done and get it done right—and start working on creating more jobs and getting people back to work,” Carnahan said.

Carnahan’s campaign press secretary, Linden Zakula, said the Senate needs to pass a final bill, then the House and the Senate bills must be reconciled in a conference committee of the two chambers.

“In short, there are still different proposals out there and Robin’s statement is clear on what she wants to see in the final legislation,” Zakula said. “And that is: a bill that would provide Americans with access to affordable, quality, stable health care and create more competition to reduce costs and keep insurance companies honest.”

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Added: November 13, 2009. 02:18 AM CDT

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