by Kevin Allman
Minutes after the health care bill passed 219-212 in the House of Representatives, several Louisiana politicos pressed SEND and sent out their statements. Below the jump, some comments from Sen. Mary Landrieu, Rep. Charlie Melancon (who voted nay) and state Rep. Cedric Richmond, who's running for Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao's Congressional seat in November, and couldn't resist slapping Cao for his nay vote.
Might as well ... jump!
After decades of dashed hopes and a year of very contentious debate, Congress has produced a bill that will deliver meaningful health care reform to Americans of all ages and all walks of life. Through tough negotiations, we struck an appropriate balance between private and public approaches to reduce cost, expand coverage and increase choice for Louisiana families and small businesses. And we have done so without a government takeover of health care.
For too long, small businesses have struggled with skyrocketing premiums and the tough choice between providing health insurance for their employees or cutting jobs. Those days are over with the passage of this bill. Families who have had a child denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or who have lost their insurance because they changed jobs will now have access to insurance they can count on. And by shoring up the Medicare trust fund and eliminating the programs waste and fraud, our seniors will have the care they need for years to come.
It is now time to move this effort across the finish line. I look forward to the Senate's up-or-down vote this week to approve the Houses target improvements to this historic legislation.
Today in the House of Representatives, I voted against the Senate health care bill and the reconciliation package. I opposed the bill for many of the same reasons that I voted against the House version of health care reform last fall: the plan costs too much and doesnt do enough to lower health care costs for middle class Louisiana families and small businesses.
Providing affordable health insurance options to the millions of Americans now living without coverage is critically important. But I cannot support a plan that raises taxes for the majority of Americans who currently have health insurance, while doing little to lower their premiums or reduce their out-of-pocket health care costs. Meaningful reform would make health care more affordable for everyone both people with insurance and those without.
Whether you support or oppose this bill, we can all agree that skyrocketing health care costs are a serious problem and something must be done. I will continue working with both Republicans and Democrats to find common ground on fiscally responsible solutions that will make health care more affordable and accessible for all Louisianians.
I am deeply disappointed that after being thrown a fundraiser by Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner the week before the vote, Congressman Cao went against the will and health of his district by joining Congressional Republicans in voting against this historic and urgent legislation to reform our countrys healthcare system.
Under the current system, 7,700 Louisiana residents will die by 2016 for lack of health insurance. This legislation will help them get the care they need to save their lives.
Furthermore, let me be perfectly clear, there is no public funding of abortion in this legislation. Congressman Caos opposition is less a principled stance against fictional public funding of abortion and more a smoke screen to hide behind, as it was recently reported that his campaign contributions fell by 40% after his vote for the House healthcare legislation last year.
We need a Congressman who has the courage to fight for affordable healthcare. As a Congressman, I will work with President Obama and Congressional Democrats to continue efforts to reforming our nations broken healthcare system.