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Healthcare experts blast Fiorina proposals

October 28, 2010 |  9:41 pm

Republican senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina, who has pledged to repeal the new healthcare law in her bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, is facing new criticism from a group of leading national and California healthcare experts.

The mostly left-leaning experts, including several who helped develop the Affordable Care Act that President Obama signed in March, are taking aim at Fiorina in a one-page statement defending the new law and criticizing Fiorina’s alternative.

"Fiorina’s plan will simply result in a loss of federal and state tax revenues with little improvement to the functioning of insurance markets in the U.S., little reduction in the number of uninsured, and displacement of many who are happy with their existing insurance arrangements," the 49 authors wrote in the statement provided to the Los Angeles Times.

Fiorina said last week that she would support giving all Americans tax incentives to shop for their own insurance in place of the current system in which most Americans get their health benefits through work. She has said this system would allow employees to “own” their health benefits.

Fiorina's spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said it did not come as a "surprise that Barbara Boxer and her allies, who are the architects and proponents of the healthcare law that is already increasing the cost of medical care, raising the price of insurance premiums and resulting in less access to care would send this kind of politically motivated letter in an attempt to distort the facts."

"The reality is that Carly supported the goals of healthcare reform, but unfortunately the law that ultimately passed achieves none of them," Soderlund said in an e-mail. "Today she continues to support healthcare reform that will actually bend the cost curve and improve access, including care for those with preexisting conditions, medical malpractice reform, improving integrated care, more access to community clinics, encouraging competition across the country, incorporating greater portability, and improving transparency."

Among the signatories of the letter are David Cutler, a Harvard economist who advised the Obama campaign in 2008, and Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who worked with the Obama administration on the law.

-- Noam Levey in Washington D.C.

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