The healthcare plan approved by the House over the weekend will never pass the Senate, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) vowed Monday.
Hatch, a conservative Republican who has long been opposed to health reform efforts including a public (or "government-run") option, talked down the bill's chances.
"That exercise in the House, that’ll never pass the Senate," Hatch said during an appearance on "Imus in the Morning" on the Fox Business Network.
“I think they’re going to have a heck of a time passing that kind of a bill in the Senate," the senator added. "One big joke in Washington is if the government ends up running health care, it’ll be just like the U.S. Postal Service—there will be long waiting periods, care would be expensive, and no babies would be delivered without adequate postage.”
The House bill differs from the prospective Senate language in several key ways, not least of which is its use of an income tax on high earners to finance the trillion-dollar price tag in the bill.
The House bill also includes a public option based on negotiated rates, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is waiting to hear back on proposals from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) before he decides how to craft his bill's public plan.
Hatch claimed that Reid's insistence at including the public plan would only make his path more difficult with colleagues.
"“It’s going to be interesting to see what Reid and Baucus and the rest of them come up with," he said. "I do think they’re going to have a rough time because they’re insisting on having this government plan in the bill, and anybody who thinks that the government can do healthcare better than the private sector just really hasn’t lived in the real world.”
He also poked fun at President Barack Obama for being out-of-touch on healthcare.
"I’m not an ear doctor, but I think the President must be tone deaf if he thinks that the American people are anxious to put government bureaucrats between them and their doctors," Hatch said.