House GOP Leader: Republicans ‘On Verge of Historic Victory’ on Health Care

ABC News’ Dean Norland reports:

Rep. Mike Pence proclaimed today that opponents of the House Democratic leadership's health care reform plan were close to achieving a “historic victory” – by defeating those proposals.

"House Republicans, and a handful of Democrats, are on the verge of a historic victory for American taxpayers and for the American health care economy," Pence, R-Ind., the chairman of the House Republican Conference, told reporters following a meeting of Republican House members.

The handful of Democrats he was referring to are the seven "Blue Dogs", or moderate Democratic members, who serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Those Democrats are concerned about the cost of the bill and, so far, are unwilling to vote to get it out of committee.

Pence also put out a call for help: "Americans who cherish the fundamental free market foundation of our health care economy should call their congressmen today and urge them to oppose the government takeover of health care being moved by this administration and House Democrats."

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., reached out to all House "Blue Dogs,” not just those on the committee.

"We stand ready, again, to continue to work with our colleagues, as we know there are 68 on the other side who have voiced some concerns over this bill. We stand together with them to try and get this health care reform bill right, not to rush it, but make sure that we can deliver ultimately the kind of reform that the American people want," he said.

Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., a guest at the GOP conference, said over he had heard concerns about the legislation expressed by both Republican and Democratic governors at a governors' association meeting last weekend.

"There is no use in rushing this through artificially when there are so many concerns, on a bipartisan basis," he said.

Barbour said House Democratic leaders have been forced to slow down their push for a bill because so many members of their own party, including many Democratic governors, know that the legislation cannot be rushed because of the danger of passing a bad bill.

House Republicans have said they support reform, but they want a program that will lower the cost of health care for every American, particularly a plan that would reduce the cost of health insurance for small business owners, farmers and working families.

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