Enzi blasts Dems over healthcare goals

A key member of the Senate Republican Conference on Saturday blasted Democrats for offering a healthcare solution distinctly at odds with his party's goals.

Democratic healthcare legislation will drive up the deficit, discriminate against the elderly and do little to control costs, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) alleged in the weekly Republican radio address.

Enzi, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee and a member of the so-called "group of six" senators working for a bipartisan compromise, also accused Democrats of hurrying the legislative process.

“The Democrats are trying to rush a bill through the process that will actually make our nation’s finances sicker without saving you money," Enzi said in the weekly GOP address. "The American people are growing increasingly concerned about out of control spending in Washington that’s leaving us with trillions of dollars of debt."

Adopting one of the GOP's favored lines of attack, Enzi said the plan would particularly hurt the elderly.

"“These bills also raid Medicare," Enzi said. "This will result in cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the elderly to create new government programs."

Democrats and President Obama have said they'll cut waste, fraud and abuse from Medicare to help pay for reform, but deny that the quality of care will be adversely affected.

And in stronger language, Enzi said some components of reform would effectively discriminate based on age.

"The bills would expand comparative effectiveness research that would be used to limit or deny care based on age or disability of patients," he said.

"Comparative effectiveness" is the process of evaluating the cost-effectiveness of varying treatments. Democrats deny that it would result in reduced care for the elderly or disabled.

Instead of the Democrats' proposals, Enzi advocated medical liability reform, incentivizing healthier lifestyle choices, and providing more information for consumers to use in the private marketplace.