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Murtha addresses breakfast crowd

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 9:56 a.m.

The nation is at a crossroads on the issue of affordable health care and the chance that all parties will be satisfied with negotiated solutions on the issue is unlikely, according to U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha.

The Johnstown Democrat spoke to a group of Latrobe area businessmen and public officials on Friday at a Latrobe Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Mountain View Inn, Unity Township.

Topics of the discussion and question-and-answer period ranged from international protection for domestic steel to President Bush's missile defense plan and transportation planning.

With federal revenue down due to President Bush's tax cut and proposed increases in defense spending, Murtha said responding to public demands for reform of the health care industry will be difficult.

'Health care will likely be the biggest problem we will face when we go back,' he said.

'We've got the best medical professionals and hospitals in the world ... If you can afford them,' Murtha said.

Murtha also indicated he didn't favor legislation that would reduce people's ability to sue for medical malpractice.

'You don't want to reduce liability to the point where a mistake is made and there is no recourse,' he said.

On others issues, Murtha said:

  • He felt southwestern Pennsylvania would win the maglev test project over a Baltimore-Washington, D.C., proposal.

  • He doesn't oppose a national missile defense, but said he thought the possibility of terrorists smuggling nuclear, biological or chemical agents into the country is a bigger threat than a missile attack from a small nuclear power.

  • He believes local officials should seek out gubernatorial candidates next year to pin them down on priority road projects in the area once they are elected.

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