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Associated Press, Published November 16 2009

ND health execs defend Pomeroy vote

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota health care executives and the state chapter of the AARP are defending Rep. Earl Pomeroy's support of a House health care bill.

A conservative seniors' group says the bill means $400 billion in Medicare spending reductions. The 60 Plus Association has bought television ad time to criticize Pomeroy's vote for the measure.

Pomeroy said the health bill will mean smaller spending increases for Medicare but won't affect health care for seniors or restrict their ability to choose their doctors.

Bismarck hospital president Andrew Wilson said Pomeroy helped North Dakota hospitals by opposing a provision to create a so-called public health insurance option with its rates tied to Medicare payments. Wilson and other hospital executives said those payments are too low.

Pomeroy said today that he's spent $150,000 on ad time to respond to the criticism.

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