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GOP fighting with itself again, this time on health care - abc27 WHTM

GOP fighting with itself again, this time on health care

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

The Battle of Gettysburg may have been Pennsylvania's most famous foray into civil wars, but not its only.

A civil war is being waged within the ranks of the Republican party and shots were fired Tuesday in Harrisburg over Governor Tom Corbett's new health care plan.

"The governor is proposing to add more people to welfare in Pennsylvania," Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) said. "I wish he'd be honest with the people of Pennsylvania and just say that."

Less than a day after Corbett unveiled his major health care initiative, Metcalfe and other conservative groups blasted it.

"As he (Corbett) read his prepared remarks, he was painfully making his way through them and he was not moving the shells fast enough to fool the voters," Metcalfe said.

Corbett's spokeswoman noted that the governor's plan has support among health care professionals, the insurance industry and business groups. That, she said, is proof that Corbett's on the right track with his plan.

But conservative groups, like Americans for Prosperity, defected and called a Capitol news conference to oppose it.

They say though Corbett has branded it "Healthy Pennsylvania," it's really just an expanded federal entitlement that will ultimately cost the state billions.

"Any governor that can protect his or her people from Obamacare has an obligation to do so," said Jennifer Stefano of AFP. "One of the options is to not take this money from the federal government that would put the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on bended knee to nameless, faceless bureaucrats in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that are unable to give even the most basic answers to how this will work."

Metcalfe speculated that Corbett is playing politics and expanding health care to curry favor with voters.

"The governor is not going to get away with, at this point in his term, coming out and making this type of proposal and thinking it's going to save him in next year's elections," he said.

The fight over health care is just the latest example of Republican dysfunction.

The GOP controls the House, the Senate and the governor's mansion, and yet couldn't muster the votes for any of Corbett's three major initiatives - transportation, liquor privatization and pension reform - this summer.

Democratic Sen. John Wozniak of Johnstown said the problem is 30-some ultra-conservatives in the House, like Metcalfe.

"They are right of Attila the Hun," Wozniak said. "They are so ideologically cornered that compromise and consensus isn't part of their makeup. That is causing havoc in Pennsylvania government."

The Battle of Gettysburg was over in three days; the GOP civil war has raged for more than a year. And with Republicans taking shots at Republicans, Democrats don't have to get bloody.

"We're just sitting back and letting the self-destruction go on," Wozniak said.

 

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