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Pawlenty calls Obama health plan 'false advertising'

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Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Friday said President Barack Obama's proposal for health care reform will not save money. 

Speaking on Minnesota Public Radio News, Pawlenty accused Obama of "false advertising" and said the president's plan would dramatically expand federal government health care programs.

"The proposal he has -- as gauged by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and many other non-partisan groups -- is actually going to cost much more money, not save us money," Pawlenty said. "So there's just not the truthful advertising going out of Washington about what this proposal is going to do. It's not going to contain costs. It is going to accelerate and increase costs."

Pawlenty said Obama's proposal is especially troubling for Minnesota, because it pegs future payments to health providers based on Medicare's current rates. Those rates pay efficient health care states such as Minnesota less than states where costs are higher.

Pawlenty recently returned to Minnesota after visiting U.S. troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Germany. 

He said while security has improved in Iraq, it still remains a dangerous place for coalition troops.

"That's underscored by the fact that we lost three Minnesotans in a mortar attack last week," he said. 

Spc. James Wertish, 20, of rural Olivia, Spc. Carlos Wilcox IV, 27, of Cottage Grove, and Spc. Daniel Drevnick, 22, of Woodbury were killed July 16 after insurgents attacked their unit near Basra in southern Iraq.

Pawlenty said he's concerned about Obama's timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq. 

"Those arbitrary deadlines may not match reality on the ground," in Iraq, Pawlenty said. "I think we should bring the troops down in Iraq, but we should do it, as the circumstances on the ground warrant." 

The governor credited the administration's troop surge in Afghanistan, saying the situation there is completely different than in Iraq.

"Violence is increasing there and we're increasing our troops there," Pawlenty said. "At the moment, it looks like Afghanistan is the bigger problem."