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Ros-Lehtinen: Troubled "Cash for Clunkers" poisons health care debate

The federal government's popular yet problematic "Cash for Clunkers" came to an end yesterday, and critics say its performance could hurt efforts to expand other government programs -- including Democratic plans to overhaul health care reform.

"This cash for clunkers has really scared a lot of people," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said. "They're thinking, 'Wow, first they were going to run out of money so they had to stop, and then we put some more money in and now they say today is the last day.' They're thinking government can't do much, and now we're going to give them one more thing."

The Miami Republican opposes calls for a government-run health insurance program, calling it a "Trojan horse" for a single payer system. Public option plan supporters and Miami-Dade members of Howard Dean's Democracy for America plan to rally against her stance today at Miami Beach City Hall.

"She needs to remember she represents 'we the people,' not her health care industry pals," said Democracy for America Miami Dade president Franco Caliz.