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Blackburn questions Obama at House GOP conference

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Friday, January 29, 2010; 2:07 PM

After addressing the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore on Friday, President Obama took a series of questions from the lawmakers. Here is a transcript of one of the questions posed to the president:

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REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TENN.): Thank you, Mr. President.

And thank you for acknowledging that we have ideas on health care. Because, indeed, we do have ideas. We have plans. We have over 50 bills. We have lots of amendments that would bring health care ideas to the forefront.

We would -- we've got plans to lower cost, to change purchasing models, address medical liability, insurance accountability, chronic and preexisting conditions, and access to affordable care for those with those conditions, insurance portability, expanded access, but not doing it with creating more government, more bureaucracy and more cost for the American taxpayer.

And we look forward to sharing those ideas with you. We want to work with you on health reform and making certain that we do it in an affordable, cost-effective way that is going to reduce bureaucracy, reduce government interference and reduce costs to individuals and to taxpayers.

And if those good ideas aren't making it to you, maybe it's the House Democrat leadership that is an impediment instead of a conduit.

OBAMA: Well, no . . .

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKBURN: But we're concerned also that there are lessons learned from public option health care plans that maybe are not being heeded. And certainly in my state of Tennessee, we were the test case for public option health care in 1994. And our Democrat government has even cautioned that maybe our experiences there would provide some lessons learned that should be heeded and would provide guidance for us to go forward.

And as you said, what we should be doing is tossing old ideas out, bad ideas out, and moving forward and refining good ideas. And certainly we would welcome that opportunity.

So my question to you is, when will we look forward to starting anew and sitting down with you to put all of these ideas on the table, to look at these lessons learned, to benefit from that experience, and to produce a product that is going to reduce government interference, reduce cost and be fair to the American taxpayer?

(LAUGHTER)


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