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Scalise Still Pushing Alternative Health Plan 

  Even as President Barack Obama released his revamped health care plan, Congressman Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, was swinging for the fences in an effort to bring attention to his alternative plan, which is backed by fellow Republicans and has 50 co-sponsors — including five members of Congress who are physicians. Scalise says House Resolution 3400, also known as the "Empowering Patients First Act," would cover pre-existing conditions and protect employer-sponsored insurance program. It also expands the individual market by creating several pooling mechanisms, creates new doctor-led quality measures and seeks to ferret out fraud and waste. Scalise's plan is gaining little ground with the Democratic White House, however. Scalise says he has "reached out to President Obama on several occasions to meet with him."

  Actual give-and-take, though, isn't happening, leading Scalise to wonder if Obama's planned health care summit "will only create an excuse to try and blame Republicans for the failure of a government takeover of health care." That's pretty much the GOP Party line these days, to which Scalise adds, "If the president were sincere about good-faith negotiations, he'd scrap the entire government takeover of health care and work with Republicans on our solutions to reduce costs, eliminate discrimination against pre-existing conditions, and pass common-sense medical liability reform without all the new taxes and new mandates." To read the Republican alternative in its entirety, visit www.thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.3400. — Alford

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