Republicans to unpick Obama's health reforms

Barely 24 hours after the Republicans stormed back to take control of Congress, the first roadblocks to bipartisanship appeared over the President's healthcare reforms.

Although talk after the midterm congressional elections was marked by tones of compromise and contrition, the probable new Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, repeated Republican pledges to try to repeal Barack Obama's policy.

"I believe that the healthcare bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best healthcare system in the world and bankrupt our country," he said.
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"That means we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with commonsense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance."

But Mr Obama made clear that he was only interested in tinkering with of the bill and explained Tuesday's landslide as reflecting people's "number-one concern . the economy".

He rejected suggestions that he was taking the country in the wrong direction, but appeared to leave the door open to compromises that could see an extension of the George Bush-era tax cuts to everyone, including the rich, as well as the fine-tuning of his financial regulatory reforms and the plans for energy independence.

But he wants the Republicans to agree to extend dole payments to long-term unemployed beyond the current 99 weeks, with as many as 2 million jobless set to lose their benefits at the end of this month.

Eric Cantor of Virginia, who is likely to become the Republicans' leader in the House, unveiled a plan of budget cuts and Obama policy reversals.

Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is in line to chair the House Budget committee, insisted: "We should not allow any tax increases, period, because it's going to slow the economy down. If you want to get this deficit down, you need two things: economic growth and spending cuts."


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