Hooray for the House
Let me ‘dis’ the local Austin television news media. The 10PM (Austin time) news proclaimed “congress is still debating Health Care” and repeats old news. But, CSPAN shows the vote passed at 8:15PM (Austin time). Austin still lives in a bubble. We are very well versed about the Texas football dramas and Austin icon Leslie, but US news effecting every American takes a back seat.
Wait … Breaking news at 10:44 PM (Austin time) “the House has passed the Health Care Reform Bill…” OK, better late news than never …
November 7, 2009
I am writing you on this Saturday night from Washington. It has been a momentous day. Finally, after decades of debating how to reform our nation’s health care system, with my strong support, the House of Representatives has just approved the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) by a narrow vote of 220 to 215. As a member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, improving access to affordable health care has been one of my top priorities. Now, we are closer to ensuring that in a country as rich as ours, no American will be denied essential care.
The House bill I helped pass offers important new protections for the insured and important improvements to Medicare. It enjoys the support of AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Nurses Association, and the Consumers Union. The uninsured are offered a choice of both a public Medicare-type health insurance plan and private insurance. The public option alternative and some of the other provisions are weaker than what I sought, but it is far superior to the Senate opt-out version. The latter would authorize the State of Texas to deny its uninsured families the right to voluntarily select Medicare-type public insurance as an alternative to private insurance monopolies.
But until President Obama has a strong bill on his desk, hard work remains. The Senate is still a challenge because we really do not have a consistent 60 vote Democratic margin to overcome Republican filibusters. Portions of the bill that are already weak, might yet become weaker.
On this historic occasion, there was so much that I wanted to say on your behalf, but the leadership asked me to use the brief time allocated to rebut Republican claims and their phony substitute. In short, Republicans would do nothing for 95% of the uninsured and permit insurance monopolies to continue denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. To hear my remarks on the House floor today urging my colleagues to reject their bill and support our historic legislation, click here.
“Take this baton and bring this effort to the finish line,” Obama urged senators on Sunday in an appearance at the White House, saying passage of healthcare reform would represent “their finest moment in public service.”
Democrats have no margin for error — they control exactly 60 seats in the 100-member Senate. Some moderate Democrats have rebelled at Reid’s plan to include a new government-run insurance program, known as the “public option,” in the bill.
BILL Synopsis [click here]
“It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government”