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Originally published Monday, March 15, 2010 at 5:09 PM

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The U.S. House should reject the health care bill and start over

The Seattle Times editorial board urges the U.S. House of Representatives to vote "no" on the health care bill. Better to start over.

THIRTY million dollars is being spent on ads to persuade members of Congress to vote for or against the health insurance bill. This is all aimed at a few uncommitteds, such as Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver. Call it a million dollars a vote.

To this cashophony, we add our 75 cents. For years, this newspaper has favored health care reform. We still favor it, done at the right time and in the right way. We do not favor this bill and urge Baird and his colleagues to vote against it.

Right now the government's goal should be the revival of business investment and the creation of private-sector jobs. This cannot be put off. It has to be pursued now, and it has to be President Obama's major concern.

A good health insurance bill might help the economic recovery. But it would do this only if it controlled health care costs, so that when an American worker received a raise, he or she might actually see some of it. But this bill offers no real control of costs. It is all about coverage.

Extending coverage is good, but if Congress is going to offer the people a new benefit, it has to squeeze out at least the equivalent amount of savings. If it does not, then health care, already gulping down 17 percent of national economic output, increases its caloric intake even more. And that means a heavier cost loaded onto each new Boeing 787, Kenworth truck or other product American companies sell. And that hinders recovery.

The bill the House may consider this weekend is hundreds of pages. As legislators move closer to the final votes, the arguments consist more and more of sheer emotion — and now, this week in the House, of emotion manufactured by $30 million in ads.

At this point, the responsible vote is "no." Take a break, let the economy recover, and start over.

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