Sunday Talk Shows Focus on Healthcare Debate

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The following are Associated Press reports on the Sunday talk shows' discussions on the on-going healthcare reform debate in Washington:

Specter: town hall ire not reflect public opinion

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Arlen Specter says critics of the Democrats' health care proposals are not representative of the public's view on the issue.

The Pennsylvania Democrat says people who are angry at town hall meetings don't reflect the broader public opinion of the proposed overhaul. Specter has faced tough town hall audiences in his home state.

Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch says the crowds are representative of people "up in arms" over the plan. He says the outrage is genuine.

Hatch also says the Democratic National Committee and organized labor are also sending supporters to town halls to challenge Republicans.

The senators appeared Sunday on ABC's "This Week."


Sebelius: Talk of 'death panels' is scare tactic

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's health secretary says it's a "horrific" twisting of the facts to say that "death panels" are part of a health care overhaul.

Kathleen Sebelius says opponents of the administration's health overhaul are using scare tactics to try to derail an overhaul. She says that claims the government would set up death panels to rule on life-sustaining care for ailing older people are wrong. In her words, "nothing could be further from the truth."

Sebelius says end-of-life planning is an important conversation and should take place before a loved one's final days.

Sebelius appeared Sunday on ABC's "This Week."


GOP senator: People have lost confidence in gov't

WASHINGTON -- An Oklahoma senator says the angry tone of the health care debate is the result of people losing confidence in government.

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn says the government has earned that loss of confidence.

At times during protests, critics of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul have likened him to Adolf Hitler.

Coburn calls health care a symptom of the debate over an uncontrolled federal government. He says unchecked spending by Congress has raised the question of whether lawmakers are legitimately thinking about the American people and their long-term best interests.

Coburn appeared Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."


Congressman says Obama able to keep tax pledge

WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the House tax-writing committee says he thinks President Barack Obama can keep his promise not to raise taxes on most people and still overhaul health care.

Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York says that dealing with waste, medical errors and other problems that he says "hemorrhage" money would provide some immediate relief.

As a candidate Obama promised not to raise taxes on people earning less than $250,000 a year. Critics of the health care overhaul say it will result in huge tax increases.

Rangel says he doesn't know whether a House proposal to charge a surtax on the insurance benefits of wealthy Americans can survive in the Senate.

Rangel spoke Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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