A key House Republican pledged the cooperation of his party as Congress continues to tussle with how best to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, but added that concessions would be required from both sides of the aisle.
This is not an issue where were going to rope-a-dope the committee, said Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Were prepared to work at something that is in the middle and can be done and maintain private healthcare plans.
The comments were made during a hearing that focused on ways to expand health insurance coverage as part of a broader effort to reshape the U.S. healthcare sector. Barton, part of a Republican task force on health reform, has raised concerns with parts of President Barack Obamas blueprint to change how care is delivered, covered and paid for across the country.
One particular sticking point is a plan for a government-run health insurance option that would compete with private plans. Republicans and some Democrats have said that such a move would create unfair competition and draw out individuals from private coverage into the public one.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, said that he was undecided on how best to expand coverage, but was more adamant that the current system is flawed.
Efforts to secure quality healthcare coverage at an affordable price is not possible for millions of American families, Pallone said. First and foremost, health insurance has become too expensive.