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WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Republicans rounded out their Senate team for a healthcare summit with U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday, adding four leading critics of Democratic proposals.
Congressional aides said Senator John McCain, a leading voice against Democratic healthcare policies and Obama's 2008 Republican opponent in the presidential election, had been added to the group that will meet Obama and his fellow Democrats at Blair House.
Another top Republican voice on healthcare, Senator Lamar Alexander, and two doctors from the Republican side, Senators Tom Coburn and John Barrasso, will also be in the group.
They will join Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell as well as Republican Senators Charles Grassley, Jon Kyl and Mike Enzi.
Republicans have been adamantly opposed to Democratic healthcare plans, saying they add up to a government takeover of the U.S. healthcare system.
They have urged Obama to scrap the plans and start over. Obama has refused, and many political analysts expect the Thursday televised summit to be more about scoring political points and less about sealing a healthcare agreement.
"This week's summit clearly has all the makings of a Democratic infomercial for continuing on a partisan course that relies on more backroom deals and parliamentary tricks," House Republican leader John Boehner said on Monday.
Obama has urged Republicans to come forward with their own healthcare plans for discussion on Thursday. On Tuesday, the White House published a blog outlining several Republican proposals that have been incorporated into Obama's plan.
"Throughout the debate on health insurance reform, Republican concepts and proposals have been included in legislation," the White House said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will attend the summit, joined by Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Patty Murray, Max Baucus, Chris Dodd, Tom Harkin, Jay Rockefeller and Kent Conrad.
Reporting by Steve Holland, Editing by Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman