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Owens: Push to repeal health care bill is misguided

"We saw, I think, Republicans and Democrats compromising during the lame duck session, and now the folks that did that compromising are being criticized by some of the new people coming in," he said. "It's going to make for a very interesting first couple of months."

As for the GOP push to repeal last year's health care legislation, Owens says that's a big mistake.

"I've got 27 years of experience representing hospitals," he said. "I've talked to, literally, every hospital CEO in this district. Obviously, they're not 100 percent happy with this legislation, but they understand some change needed to be made."

Owens says that the GOP's repeal-and-replace initiative doesn't go far enough to reform health care in the absence of Obama's legislation.

So far, Owens says Republicans have only been pushing tort reform and legislation to allow citizens to purchase health insurance across state lines.

"Neither of those will make a significant impact on health care reform in terms of reducing costs," he said.

According to Owens, preventive care is one way to drive down costs. Another is charging patients based on physician performance - in other words, the patient pays for results, not just services.

"Those are the kinds of things people need to be focused on and I'm not hearing that kind of discussion," Owens said. "Personally, I believe that the legislation that was passed is moving in that direction and that's what I hope to do, is to continue to push it toward cost reduction, through preventive care and care that's focused on better outcomes."

And although health care reform is likely to dominate discussion in the House early in 2011, Owens says his personal focus is job creation.

He says he'll work hard at the Congressional and local level to invigorate a struggling private sector in northern New York.

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