Kirk pushes GOP health proposals

The latest push for Republican ideas for health reform was made Saturday by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who also used the GOP radio address to promote his own Senate candidacy.

Kirk outlined core elements of Republicans' health reform proposals in the address, arguing that the healthcare bill passed a week ago by the House would do little to reform the system, and result in higher taxes.

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"The Pelosi healthcare bill has no significant lawsuit reforms and does not guarantee your medical rights from government waiting lines or restrictions," Kirk said. “In the teeth of the Great Recession, the Pelosi bill would impose ten new taxes on the American economy."

Kirk asserted the Congress should focus on the GOP's "common sense" solutions -- including medical liability reform, abolishing state barriers to buying insurance policies, and giving states opportunities to test out new health reform ideas -- and lamented Democrats' rejection of the plan.

“Unfortunately, all of these common sense Republican reforms were rejected by Speaker Pelosi," Kirk said.

But the weekly address also served as a small national springboard for the Illinois congressman, who is hoping to pick up a Senate seat for Republicans in traditionally Democratic Illinois.

Kirk promoted some of his own background and ideas during the radio address.

"When I returned home from active duty in Afghanistan, I dedicated my congressional service to helping families with healthcare," he said at the beginning of the address.

He also noted that he offered an amendment to the health reform proposals "standing for the principle that Congress shall make no law interfering with the decisions you make with your doctor."

Kirk is expected to face some conservative opposition in the Illinois Senate primary, with the GOP address lending him some Republican bona fides. In the general election, he is seen as likely to face off against state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D).