Ross: Bush -- not Obama -- pioneered socialized medicine in U.S.

It was President George W. Bush who presided over the largest socialized expansion of government-supported healthcare, Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) asserted Tuesday.

Ross, a leading member of the centrist Blue Dog Democrat coalition on health issues, said that it was Bush, not President Obama, who pioneered the expansion of government's role in healthcare.

"It was George W. Bush that passed the largest socialized expansion of our government in my lifetime," Ross argued in an interview with a Fox affiliate in Arkansas. "It was called Medicare Part D prescription drug program. The 10 year period for it was well over a trillion dollars."

He said that program exceeds the cost of the healthcare reform bill now before the House.

"The price tag is now under a trillion. That is over 10 years," Ross said. "That is less money than what George W. Bush passed."

Ross's words are a thinly-veiled shot at Republicans who argue that Obama's healthcare plans would result in a massive expansion of government, and create a "government-run" healthcare system.

But Ross, a key swing Democrat whose vote could swing other centrists on the healthcare bill, still said he hasn't made up his mind on whether or not he'll support the final reform bill.

"I don't know how I will vote on the final bill," Ross explained. "There are still 10 more legislative votes before we have a final vote."

He added: "I don't know what the final bill will look like. If it covers illegal immigrants, I'll be against it. If it uses federal funds to pay for abortion, I'll be against it. If it does not allow you to keep what you've got today and always choose your own doctor, I'll be against it."

Watch the video of the interview below: