Hope Fades For Compromise On Health Bill

WASHINGTON -- A leading Republican negotiator on health care legislation is criticizing Democratic legislative proposals as budget-busters that would reroute Medicare spending and restrict medical choices.

Delivering the Republicans' weekly radio and Internet address, Sen. Michael Enzi says any health care legislation must lower medical costs for Americans without increasing deficits and the national debt.

Signaling a fading chance for compromise, Enzi says "The bills introduced by congressional Democrats fail to meet these standards."

His criticism is especially noteworthy because he's one of only three Republicans who have been willing to consider a bipartisan bill in the Senate.

Enzi's calling for more competition among health insurers, for the ability of small businesses to band together across state lines to negotiate for lower-cost insurance plans, for tax breaks to help people buy insurance and for reducing malpractice lawsuits.

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