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North Country representatives split on repeal vote

Owens says he and his staff have encountered similar sentiments at mobile office hours and recent town hall meetings.

"So from my perspective, one of the great claims being made by the Republicans was that they are listening to the people," he said. "Based upon those polls, it doesn't appear to me that they are, and in fact, we are listening to the people. I stand ready, willing and able to look at any proposal that makes the bill better and meets two criteria: it needs to improve the quality of care that we're delivering, and it needs to reduce costs."

Owens believes that the current effort to repeal last year's bill is counterproductive. But he doesn't argue that lawmakers need to parse through the legislation and make some necessary changes.

"We need to see changes made to the bill," Owens said. "Everyone agrees that this was a good first step. I don't think this repeal is a good use of our team; it's causing us to drift back toward partisanship."

Owens says its crucial for lawmakers to seize on the bipartisanship displayed during the recent lame duck session of Congress, during which Republicans and Democrats came together to pass an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and measures like a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

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