GOP Skeptical of 'Bipartisan' Health Care Bill

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is proposing yet another version of health care reform.

The president is sketching out a few areas where he says Democrats should paste Republican proposals onto the health care bills already passed with overwhelming Republican opposition.

Obama sent congressional leaders a letter previewing his Wednesday speech and highlighting a reach out to Republicans.

"In it he spelled out areas of agreement that had emerged from last Thursday's meeting," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. "Not that they were new, but he emphasized common ground in keeping costs down and fighting waste, fraud and abuse."

A More Sinister Motive?

Obama says he's ready to incorporate Republican priorities like reducing the huge costs of medical malpractice suits and expanding health savings accounts.

However, Republican leaders say just because the president is giving them a nod that won't buy their votes.

They believe he's just trying to woo wavering conservative Democrats by trying to make the massive reform appear more bipartisan.

They said the real plan is to shove a reform bill through the Senate with a simple majority vote, not giving the GOP minority a chance to stop it with a filibuster.

Even some Democrats doubt that maneuver, called reconciliation, will fly as it's only supposed to be used for budget matters, not for a more significant issue like health care reform that affects a sixth of the American economy.

"It won't work," Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., told CBS' Face the Nation. "It won't work because it was never designed for that kind of significant legislation."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says if the Democrats ram through reform with tricky parliamentary maneuvers, the GOP will make it the top issue in every congressional race this year.

Talk like that is why Pelosi doesn't seem sold the president's reach out to Republicans will work.

"Could be some hope for some bipartisanship as we go forward, and I wish him well with that," she said.

Republicans insist they still want to work on health care, but only if Congress and the White House start from scratch, dumping the liberal measures the GOP simply can't abide -- and polls show the public rejects.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.