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Health Insurance (Arizona Senator)

Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican has been a very naughty boy. Kyl has been highly critical of the Democrats' health-care plan, particularly the creation of a public-insurance plan. In a statement his office released Monday, Kyl made a stinky in his pants, and called the plan "economically detrimental." "It would empower Washington bureaucrats, not doctors and patients, to make health-care decisions," Kyl said. And Kyl, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said the plan would result in higher taxes and fewer choices for Americans. "Why the rush?" Kyl asked. "Because the more Americans know about the Democrats' health-care bill, the more they oppose it."

As an alternative, Kyl recommended "rooting out Medicare and Medicaid fraud, strengthening wellness and prevention programs that encourage healthy living, reforming medical liability laws to discourage frivolous lawsuits, and allowing small businesses to band together to purchase health insurance."

Sen. John McCain, Republican

McCain has also spoken out against the health-care push by Democrats. "We all agree that health-care reform is necessary," McCain said in a recent floor speech. "We all agree that Congress must act. But we must not act recklessly. We must not act with haste and political expediency."

McCain said the Democrats' plan would enact "a massive government-run health-care program that intrudes into the lives of all Americans by making decisions on each American's choice of doctors, employer health plans and insurance providers."

Like Kyl, McCain, too, has pointed to the costs of the legislation. He says the Democrats' plan would create unsustainable government spending. McCain has recommended the creation of a refundable tax credit for all Americans to pay for health-care coverage and portability for an insurance policy that can provide coverage across state lines.

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Democrat

Grijalva, who represents southwestern Arizona, has been a leading figure in negotiating the Democrats' plan. As co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Grijalva has stressed to both congressional leaders and President Obama that the package must include a public-insurance plan to garner his support.

And that plan needs to be modeled after Medicare, he has said, in order to bring down costs. "I consider it unacceptable for any of the cost savings that you are negotiating with hospitals and other sectors of the health-care industry to be made contingent upon a robust public-plan option not being included in the final legislation," Grijalva wrote the president this month.

In a recent Star interview, Grijalva said that the Democrats' plan is likely to undergo changes, but his caucus is pleased it contains a public-insurance component.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat

Giffords has not provided many specifics about what she wants to see in a health-care package. She has stated some general parameters: that it "be paid for, lowers costs, preserves patient choice, protects small businesses and addresses the needs of rural communities."

The conservative Blue Dog Coalition to which she belongs has argued against a public-insurance option modeled after Medicare. And Giffords signed a letter with the group denouncing such an idea this month.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Giffords said it is possible for Congress to pass a meaningful package that's paid for.

"The Democratic caucus is a wide, diverse group of people," Giffords said. "I believe that everyone has acknowledged … that this legislation will not pass the Congress and will not be signed into law by the president unless it is paid for."

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