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Coburn invited to attend summit on health care
[February 24, 2010]

Coburn invited to attend summit on health care

WASHINGTON, Feb 24, 2010 (Tulsa World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn on Tuesday was added to the list of key Republicans scheduled to attend a White House health-care summit later this week.

Coburn, R-Okla., a practicing physician before entering politics, was put on the list by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

McConnell used the announcement to take another swipe at the White House approach to the much-publicized summit.

"Americans don't know how else to say it: They're not interested in a reform that starts with the bills they've already rejected, bills that slash a half-trillion dollars from seniors' Medicare, raise a half-trillion in new taxes and don't lower costs or premiums," he said.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, was even more dismissive Monday, saying the summit has the makings of a Democratic infomercial.

Responding to the White House's posting online a health-care proposal in preparation for the summit, Boehner accused President Barack Obama of crippling the entire effort by proposing the "same massive government takeover" of health care.

Republicans would like to see the Democratic-backed bills scrapped and have the process started again.

Still, McConnell said Republicans will attend the summit in good faith and continue to offer their ideas and a "step-by-step" approach that Americans support.

Coburn did not respond to a request for comment.

Other Republicans on the list released by McConnell's office include Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, both of Arizona; Lamar Alexander of Tennessee; Chuck Grassley of Iowa; and Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both of Wyoming.

In his daily press briefing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs attempted to keep the focus on the Thursday summit and called the plan posted online a starting point.

Gibbs said it was disappointing that Senate Republicans had not posted their own plan on the Internet for discussion.

"What we get out of Thursday will be," he said, "based on the willingness of those participating to come in with an open mind and discuss the ideas and the plans that they have." To see more of the Tulsa World, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2010, Tulsa World, Okla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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