Here is how your elected leaders feel about Sunday’s vote to overhaul our nation’s health care system.
Mitch McConnell :NO
McConnell Statement on House Passage of Partisan Health Spending Bill
“Today’s vote will go down in history as the culmination of a year-long quest by a partisan majority to force its will on the public over bipartisan opposition. And it marks the beginning of a backlash against Democrats in Washington who lost their way and lost the trust of the people who elected them. Americans rejected the process and the special deals that brought us to this point, and they are demanding an explanation. A bill that had a simple goal — to lower the cost of health care — became instead a monstrosity held together by special deals, a rejection of the clear will of the voters, and Presidential appeals to put party first. That’s not reform.
“Americans had already rejected this bill before today’s vote, along with the unseemly power grab that led to its passage. They are tired of being treated more like obstacles to be overcome than constituents to be respected and heard. But they will be heard. Senate Republicans will now do everything in our power to replace the massive tax hikes, Medicare cuts and mandates with the reforms our constituents have been calling for throughout this debate.”
Jim Bunning :NO
Bunning: ‘Health Care Bill is a Recipe for Disaster’
“With the passage of this bill, the Democrats have shown just how out of touch they are with the will of the American people. This bill relies on accounting gimmicks to hide the real cost of reform, and breaks President Obama’s repeated pledge not to raise taxes -- not even one dime -- on the middle class. Under the Democrats’ bill, health care premiums will go up, Medicare will see significant cuts, and Washington bureaucrats will be in charge of your health care.
“Overall, this bill is a recipe for disaster for our country. It is nothing more than a two and a half trillion dollar scam that will bury future generations of Americans under mountains of debt. The so-called fixes that were passed by the House last night and will be considered in the Senate this week only make an already bad bill even worse.
“It is a shame the Democrats have turned a deaf ear to the pleas of the American public who know this legislation is a bad deal. Instead, they have pushed forward stubbornly, even though the majority of Americans oppose this bill because it will lead to the rationing of health care and people won’t be able to keep their own doctor.”
Hal Rogers :NO
Update From Hal: Why I Said No to Government-Run Health Care
This evening I stood with my constituents and voted against the government-run health care bill. I have consistently supported health care reform that will lower costs and open up access for more people. Unfortunately, the bill that passed Congress tonight did not meet this threshold. Here is my statement on why I voted no:
“Over the last few months, tens of thousands of Kentucky citizens have contacted me, fearful of the potential consequences of this bill and scared for what the future holds. Frankly, so am I, which is why I listened to my constituents today and voted against President Obama’s socialistic, experimental takeover of health care. Though much has been made of the complexities of the bill, and the dishonest way it was brought to the floor for debate, the facts are simple: trillions more in government debt for our country; debilitating higher taxes and new government mandates on individuals; more economic woes for our small businesses; rationing of vital health services by government bureaucrats; longer lines at the doctor for our seniors; and the loss of millions more innocent unborn children to abortion.
“In these challenging economic times, with double digit unemployment and out of control deficit spending, this boondoggle simply adds to our country’s heartache. Costing $1.2 trillion, the bill increases taxes by $570 billion overall, including $52 billion in specific job-killing taxes and mandates on our small businesses. Our seniors and veterans will see the quality of their care diminish, with over $734.5 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, $53 billion stolen from Social Security, and drastic reductions to the VA’s Tricare programs. Paying for this monstrosity on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens is unconscionable.
“Further, the bill uses taxpayer funding to pay for abortions and will adversely impact rural areas like ours by making it difficult for doctors to provide care. I believe insurance premiums will skyrocket, quality of care will diminish and bureaucrats will dictate your personal health care decisions. “Speaker Pelosi and her minions in Congress continually ignore these basic truths, and despite the clear pleadings from the American people, they have cast their votes to the detriment of our citizens. I will work tirelessly to repeal this legislation, and do everything in my power to implement real health care reform that actually lowers costs and opens up access to more people. If we don’t take action to reverse this damage, we will go from having the best health care in the world, to a system that is beyond repair.”
John Yarmuth :YES
Congressman Yarmuth Votes for Historic Legislation to Guarantee Access to Affordable, High-Quality Health Care for All Americans
Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) issued the following statement after voting in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“During my three years in Congress, there has been no single issue that I have heard more about from Louisvillians than health care. To this day, the enormous majority have told me they want change that will guarantee access to health care, rein in skyrocketing costs, and give them more choice and control in the marketplace. I came to Congress largely to accomplish these goals on their behalf,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “This is a vote I did not cast for my party or for politics, but because it is the right thing for our country and the right thing for Louisville. This is a promise I made to my constituents. It is the most important vote I have cast as a Member of Congress, and it is the one about which I am most proud.”
As a result of the legislation that was passed tonight:
· Coverage for every Louisvillian will be strengthened, ensuring everyone will be able to keep the coverage they have now even if they lose their job or get sick, and guaranteeing every one has access to quality, affordable coverage, regardless of pre-existing condition.
· 452,000 residents will find their employer-based coverage strengthened.
· 176,000 Louisvillians will get the help they need to afford quality health coverage.
· 15,700 small businesses will be eligible for tax credits to help reduce health care costs.
· Medicare will be improved for nearly 117,000 in our community as the prescription drug donut hole that eats away at their pocket book is closed for good, care is strengthened, and waste and abuse are cut out.
· 51,000 young adults will be able to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans
· 30,000 uninsured Louisvillians will finally have access to quality health care coverage.
· 9,000 residents with pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain coverage.
· Reduces the cost of uncompensated care for Louisville hospitals and health care providers by $130 million.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is also supported by hundreds of groups, including the AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, Small Business Majority, the NAACP, the Catholic Health Association, the Autism Society of America, and the Federation of American Hospitals.
Ben Chandler :NO
Chandler Statement on Healthcare Reform Legislation
“As I traveled throughout the sixteen counties in my Central Kentucky district, I have heard much about healthcare reform from the people I represent. In November, I voted against the House bill because it did not lower the cost of healthcare in the long term and did not adequately protect our rural hospitals, our seniors, and small businesses.
After reviewing the new healthcare reform proposal and talking with Central Kentucky hospitals, physicians, healthcare providers, and citizens, I believe this legislation helps usher in much-needed reforms—like expanding coverage and eliminating the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions. However, this bill still does not address the concerns I had about its effect on our seniors, rural hospitals, and the overall cost to taxpayers. Because of this, I voted against the bill today.”
Ed Whitfield :NO
U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01) voted against the final version of controversial healthcare reform legislation tonight, citing the negative impact the measure will have on the quality of care all Kentuckians receive, small businesses and the national debt as well as the back-room deal making which has plagued the entire process.
“It is a sad day for Kentuckians when the House of Representatives turns a deaf ear to the cries of the American people,” Whitfield said. “Despite fierce opposition from citizens across the country, Speaker Pelosi jammed legislation through Congress today which will hurt Kentucky seniors, raise premiums for many citizens and only exacerbate our nation’s already sky-high debt. Worse still, the bill imposes crippling mandates and penalties on small businesses which will result in job cuts. During the worst recession in a generation, the last thing Congress needs to be doing is passing legislation which will deter economic growth instead of spurring it.”
Whitfield opposed the Senate version of the healthcare bill passed in December, H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010, a package which included a number of changes to the Senate bill. The Senate healthcare bill will now be sent to President Obama to be signed into law, while the Reconciliation Act will now be sent to the Senate for consideration. The bills passed today mandate that all Americans obtain health insurance or face a penalty; increase taxes by $569.2 billion; make huge cuts to Medicare; and will cost taxpayers nearly one trillion dollars.
The final healthcare bills include $52 billion in new taxes on employers who do not provide health coverage to their employees. The legislation will impose a $2,000 tax per employee on businesses with more than 50 employees who do not offer health coverage to their workers.
In addition, the healthcare package cuts Medicare by $523.5 billion. Whitfield said these cuts will have a huge impact on Kentucky seniors, particular the 13,000 residents in the First Congressional District who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Also, the final healthcare package includes $48 billion in increases for Medicaid. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that as a result of the final healthcare package, one million more Americans will get their coverage from Medicaid, which is plagued with financial problems and wreaks havoc on cash-strapped state budgets.
Whitfield has been an adamant opponent of the healthcare reform bills championed by Speaker Pelosi in the House. As a Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Whitfield has worked to make improvements to the legislation. Yesterday, Whitfield joined a number of his colleagues in offering 80 amendments to the Senate healthcare bill which would have expanded access to quality healthcare while holding down costs. All of these amendments were rejected by the House Rules Committee.
The Congressman has heard from thousands of Kentuckians over the past eight months regarding healthcare reform. The vast majority of the constituents Whitfield has spoken with and who contacted his offices opposed the reform proposals authored by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid.
Brett Guthrie :NO
Guthrie: ‘An overwhelming majority of my constituents do not want this bill.'
“I voted no on this bill because of the negative impact it will have on Kentucky. An overwhelming majority of my constituents do not want this bill.
“Seniors in my district are looking for help, and this bill cuts Medicare by half-a-trillion-dollars.
“Families were hoping for more affordable health care, and the bill raises their taxes and insurance premiums.
“Kentucky state legislators are working tirelessly to balance the state budget while preserving vital education and infrastructure projects and this bill gives them millions in unfunded Medicaid mandates.
“And small businesses, who have historically employed more than half of the U.S. workforce, are seeking to get the economy back on track and this bill will make it harder for them to hire new employees and continue to provide for the ones they currently have.
“My constituents are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and Washington is sending them a freight train.”
Geoff Davis :NO
Congressman Davis Rejects Democrats’ Trillion-Dollar Government Takeover of Health Care
“My heart is heavy with grief tonight at this turning point for our nation. This vote will define the America we will have in the future. Massive tax burdens, rationed care, and intrusive bureaucracy.
“To my bitter disappointment, Speaker Pelosi, using budget gimmicks, procedural tricks, strong-arm tactics and backroom deals, succeeded in wrangling enough votes to force through passage of deeply flawed legislation masquerading as reform of our health care system.
“Reform is necessary, but a trillion-dollar takeover of one-sixth of the American economy is not the solution we need. My Republican colleagues and I have offered our own commonsense proposals that would actually reduce the cost of health care for businesses, families and the taxpayers.
“The package of bills before us tonight does nothing to reduce the cost of health care in America. In fact, this legislation will result in increased health care spending and more expensive health insurance premiums.
“Unfortunately, the legislative process run by Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and President Obama was never about an open exchange of ideas or bipartisan negotiations. The only bipartisanship demonstrated here tonight was in opposition to the bill.”
Tonight, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Senate version of health care reform) by a vote of 219-212. H.R. 3590 will now be signed into law by the President.
The House also passed H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act by a vote of 220 to 211. This reconciliation package now goes to the Senate for consideration. Early reports from the Senate suggest that the content of the reconciliation package may prevent its consideration. The reconciliation bill also includes a complete government takeover of student loans.
Earlier this week, more than 130 economists sent a letter the President and to Congress explaining how the health care package will constrain economic growth and reduce employment, but will also increase health care spending and will increase the cost of health insurance.
Noteworthy Provisions of the Democrats’ Health Care Package: (not an exhaustive list)
You can watch Congressman Geoff Davis’ statement during the health care debate earlier this evening by clicking here.
To read more about Congressman Davis’ thoughts on health care and the Republican comprehensive health reform proposal, visit his health care issue page at http://GeoffDavis.house.gov/healthcare. On Tuesday, March 23rd, Congressman Davis will release his weekly column which will discuss the health care package in more detail.
Did your elected official’s vote reflect your opinion? Did you share your views with your Senator or Congressman? Let me know your thoughts.
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WYMT Mountain News
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