Republicans In Push To Stall Health Overhaul
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
NPR's David Welna has the story.
DAVID WELNA: Today on the Senate floor, Alaska freshman Democrat Mark Begich warned things could get confusing when the voting gets underway.
MARK BEGICH: Because what you will see on the other side is every imaginable amendment that we would love to see, many of them we'd probably would love to vote for. I'm not voting for any of them.
TOM COBURN: This mend will prohibit prescriptions for recreational drugs for rapists and child molesters.
WELNA: That's Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn. He practically dared Democrats today to vote against extending a current ban on using federal health care dollars to buy erectile dysfunction drugs for convicted sex offenders.
COBURN: Nobody can disagree with that. It's not in the bill. It's the current state. But if this bill goes through without this amendment, your tax dollars are going to be paying for Viagra for child molesters.
WELNA: At a rally promoting the new health care law, Senate majority leader Harry Reid reacted to Coburn's amendment with scorn.
HARRY REID: How serious could they be offering an amendment dealing with Viagra for rapists?
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
REID: I mean, this isn't serious so we feel very comfortable and confident.
WELNA: Another GOP amendment proposed by Florida's George LeMieux would force every member of Congress to have health care provided through Medicaid - the underfunded federal program for people with low incomes.
GEORGE LEMIEUX: This law now puts 16 million more Americans into Medicaid, a failing program. So if it's good enough for 16 million more Americans, good enough for 50 million Americans total, then the members of Congress should have it and let's see what they do about that.
WELNA: Would you like to be covered by Medicaid?
LEMIEUX: Sure - no, I wouldn't. I wouldn't. It's a program that's in trouble.
WELNA: Well, why are you proposing it then if you wouldn't want it for yourself?
LEMIEUX: I'm proposing it to make a point.
WELNA: David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.
SIEGEL: And in voting this evening, both the Medicaid and the so-called Viagra amendments were defeated as expected.
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