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Washington Unplugged: Coburn, Romer On Health Care Battle

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On CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged" today, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma discussed his objections to possible health care reform plans.

Coburn argued that any public plan "will morph into a government run health care plan, and if we do that then we will fall into the same problems as every other nation that has run government run health care – you control costs through the bureaucracy and you ration care."

Such a plan, he said, "will eliminate all private insurance because it will be cheaper and everyone will go towards the cheaper plan, which will end up getting subsidized and ultimately it will collapse on itself."

We won't have the money to pay for it because we will run it just like Medicare or Medicaid," he said.

Also appearing on "Washington Unplugged," Christina Romer, the head of President Obama's economic council, said it is important to keep costs under control while expanding health care coverage.


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"That's the only way to keep our budget in balance," she said. "That's the only way to keep our firms competitive."

"We firmly believe you can improve quality and control costs," Romer added.

Host Nancy Cordes also asked Romer if Hillary Clinton – who spearheaded a failed attempt for health care reform during her husband's presidency – will be involved in the effort this time around.

"My guess is she's very busy being secretary of state," Romer said.

She told Cordes one thing the administration learned from Clinton's experience in 1993 is that "you do better working with Congress" as opposed to trying to act more unilaterally.

You can watch both interviews above during this week's episode of Washington Unplugged -- our weekly Web-only 15-minute program. Also on the show is a roundtable with CBS News' Wyatt Andrews and the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly and an interview with Travis Ulerick, who intoduced the president before the health care forum at the White House yesterday.

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