Republicans are better positioned to tackle health reform if they win back the majority in Congress, one of their top conservative leaders claimed.


Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), said that the GOP would take a more aggressive tack toward health reform than they did during their control of Congress from 1995 to 2007.

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"I believe it will be different because of a couple specific reasons," Price said during a taping of C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program to air over the weekend. 

The difference, Price said, would be turnover in the GOP conference and a sense that healthcare is a more immediate problem facing Americans.

"The majority of members in our conference will have been there three terms or fewer -- so it's a different mindset," Price said. "The challenge is that much closer to us. Medicare, Medicaid -- the spending trajectory on those two programs is staring us directly in the face."

Price defended the dozens of health reforms offered by Republicans over the past year as constructive efforts toward building health reform. Democrats, for their part, have largely rejected those plans as either non-comprehensive, or not going far enough to extend health coverage to more Americans, as estimated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Still, Republicans' ability to handle healthcare may be one of the key questions facing voters this fall, as they consider voting out some Democratic incumbents.

Price asserted the difference between Democrats and Republicans was both a difference in approach as well as goals.

"The big takeaway from our conference that is important to tell the American people is that the status quo is unacceptable," he said. "We simply believe that the solutions put patients and doctors in charge, not the government."