Obamacare in a Tail Spin — House and Senate Analysis
The Obamacare plane is losing altitude, has two engines on fire, and is starting a potentially fatal roll to the left.
Karl Rove, writing in the WSJ:
Polls are turning against President Barack Obama’s health-care plan. The political calendar is, too.
On Monday, the Washington Post/ABC poll reported that 49% of Americans approve of his handling of health care while 44% disapprove. What many people missed is that those who strongly disapprove of the president’s approach on health care now outnumber those who strongly approve by 33% to 25%. That presages further decline. Already, 49% of independents disapprove of the president’s approach, up from 30% in April, a staggering shift in 11 weeks.
Mr. Obama is also slipping on the economy. Those who strongly disapprove now outnumber those who strongly approve of his handling of the economy (35% to 29%), of deficits (38% to 19%), and of unemployment (31% to 26%). On Tuesday, Gallup showed Mr. Obama’s personal approval was 55%, down from more than 60% a few weeks ago and lower than the 56% George W. Bush had at this point in his first term.
What is the most interesting about these polls is that they poll “adults” NOT likely voters.
The only major pollster who is polling LIKELY VOTERS, Rasmussen, has Obamacare spiraling in for the fatal inverted tail spin.
Republicans, according to Rasmussen’s LIKELY VOTERS poll, have taken .
And Rasmussen’s LIKELY VOTER polling puts voters at 53% opposed to Obamacare.
And yesterday’s daily tracking polls for Obama are brutal:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 29% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-five percent (35%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -6
And cost is the main issue with health reform, not universal coverage, according to LIKELY VOTERS:
Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters nationwide say that cost is the biggest health care problem facing the nation today. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 21% believe the lack of universal health insurance coverage is a bigger problem.
And it’s not just the public who are concerned about the cost of Obamacare, in addition to the Blue Dogs and the 20 anti-tax Democratic freshmen House Representatives, the Congressional Budget Office, the Democratic Governors are warning about the cost to their states, as Rove writes:
Democratic governors from Colorado, Tennessee, New Mexico and Washington joined GOP colleagues at the National Governors Association summer meeting to blast the administration for plans to shift millions of families into Medicaid. That could stick states with $440 billion in new costs over the next decade.
But the most damaging news came from Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf, who said last week that the White House’s health-care proposals would not “reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.” This shattered the central claim Mr. Obama has been making: that his health-care plan controls costs. In a July 17 letter, Mr. Elmendorf added that the House’s health-care bill would result in a “net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion” over 10 years. That’s likely a low-ball estimate because it assumes that Congress will increase taxes by $583 billion over the next decade.
The U.S. Senate just announced there will be no health care vote before August, leaving the U.S. House (again) to walk the plank and vote first — a major concern of Democrats who just went through the brutal cap and tax political blow-back event. To give you a real sense of where the U.S. Senate is: when asked if they would have a Health Bill done by the August recess, Senators Baucus (D-MT) and Senator Conrad (D-ND) actually burst out laughing. Senator Baucus later told another Democratic colleague that prayers would also be helpful.
Over on the U.S. House side, Chairman Waxman’s over-reaching has gridlocked his Energy and Commerce Committee, so his mark-up had to be stopped. It is unlikely to resume.
Despite the claims to the contrary, Speaker Pelosi does not have the votes for the floor:
Speaker Pelosi’s California dream’n is in full hallucinogenic mode — her statements that she will get the public option and that she has the votes for the Obamacare bill on the floor is more than dreaming, it is highly irresponsible; especially to the conservative and moderate Democrats who are already under tremendous political pressure to vote NO.
By my count there are 92 Democrats with serious vote NO type problems with the Obamacare bill.
But why listen to me, how about her own Democratic party members.
The Boss Ross Blue Dog (D-AR) said:
“No, I don’t think they have the votes,” Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., said.
“It would be easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than to pass this bill,” said Stupak.
Stupak said Democratic leaders can’t lose 40 votes if they want to pass the bill and predicted “she [Pelosi] would lose more than 40 on the right to life issue alone. There’s just no way.”
If you add the 20 new pro-life votes Stupak cites to the existing 72 Democratic votes on the various Blue Dog, freshman Dem anti-tax hike and pro-life letters, with those who voted against the bill alread in the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee and the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, along with a couple others, you get 92 Democrats.
That is more than 2.5 times the number needed to vote NO for it to fail on the floor of the U.S. House, since NO Republican is expected to vote for the bill.
Speaker’s Pelosi’s assertion that she will get the public option is like waving a red flag to the Blue Dogs who are hard-over against the public plan option.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is mounting an ad buy against the Public Plan Option, and just put out the email below, with extensive quotes from 42 Democratic members about Obamacare:
Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA): Voted Against The Health Care Bill In The Education And Labor Committee. “Two key House committees moved along Democratic healthcare legislation on Friday, only days after the bill was introduced. … The Education and Labor Committee approved their portion of the bill by a 26-22 vote. Democratic Reps. Jared Polis (Colo.), Dina Titus (Nev.) and Jason Altimire (Pa.) voted against the bill.” (Michael O’Brien, “House Committees Advance Healthcare Overhaul,” The Hill, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Altmire: “I Can’t Support The Bill As It’s Currently Written.” ALTMIRE: “Oh, I can`t support the bill as it`s currently written. The tax increases is going to put a burden on small businesses, who can`t afford to offer health care right now. What makes anything think that, by increasing their tax burden, they are somehow going to find a way to offer health care to people that they can`t afford to offer it to now?” (Fox News’ “Your World With Neil Cavuto,” 7/16/09)
· Rep. Altmire: “This Bill, In My Opinion, Does Not Strike The Balance Between Preserving What Works In Our Current System And Fixing What Does Not Work.” ALTMIRE: “This bill, in my opinion, does not strike the balance between preserving what works in our current system and fixing what does not work. We need to make the reforms in our payment system that currently incentivize inefficiencies. We need to do quality reimbursement, not quantity reimbursement. Currently, our reimbursement system is based upon how many services you provide and how often you show up in that doctor`s office. … We need to change that. We need to squeeze the inefficiencies out of the system.” (Fox News’ “Your World With Neil Cavuto,” 7/16/09)
· Rep. Altmire: “I Don’t Want To Talk About Any Tax Hikes.” ALTMIRE: “I don`t think we need to go outside of our health care system to find any revenue that is necessary. I think we can find the revenue within the current health care system by squeezing those inefficiencies. I don`t want to talk about any tax hikes. … I don`t want there to be tax hikes, even if they are being used for health care. I certainly don`t want them to pay for other programs.” (Fox News’ “Your World With Neil Cavuto,” 7/16/09)
· Rep. Altmire: “I Have A Concern With Going Outside The Health Care System.” “While a surtax on the wealthy may be the most politically palatable way to pay for the overhaul, it is sure to cost House Democratic leaders some votes among their caucus. ‘I have a concern with going outside the health care system’ to pay for the bill, said Jason Altmire , D-Pa., a Blue Dog.” (Alex Wayne, “How To Pay For Health Plan? Tax The Rich Or Not?” CQ Today, 7/13/09)
Rep. Mike Arcuri (D-NY): “It Will Be Very Helpful For Me To Have A Bill To Go Home With During The Recess To Talk To People In My District.” “Rep. Mike Arcuri of New York, a Blue Dog Democrat, said slowing down will ease Americans’ fears that Congress is ‘shoving probably the most important piece of legislation that we’ve passed in many years down their throat.’ ‘It will be very helpful for me to have a bill to go home with during the recess to talk to people in my district,’ Arcuri said.” (Bill Theobald, “Rep. Space At Center Of Health-Care Reform Debate,” Zanesville Times Recorder, 7/21/09)
Rep. John Boccieri (D-OH): “My Feeling Is There’s Enough Money In The System Already.” “Still, that’s the kind of discussion that could raise concerns for centrist freshman Democrats like Rep. John Boccieri (D-Ohio), who says there’s ‘a little fear’ among his constituents of a government-run plan, and no appetite for a tax increase. ‘My feeling is there’s enough money in the system already,’ Boccieri said.” (Mike Soraghan, “Speaker Pelosi Makes Aggressive Push To Finish Healthcare Reform This Month,” The Hill, 7/8/09)
Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK): “The House Bill That’s Out There, I Can’t Support.” “Second District Congressman Dan Boren said Monday that health care reform rests largely on President Barack Obama’s willingness to accept bipartisan compromise on the issue. ‘If health care reform is going to happen it will have to happen in a bipartisan way,’ Boren told the Tulsa Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. ‘It’s really up to the president.’ Boren, a Democrat, said he is trying to keep an open mind but said, ‘The House bill that’s out there, I can’t support.’” (Tom Gilbert, “Boren: Bipartisanship Key To Health Care,” Tulsa World, 7/20/09)
· Rep. Boren: “I Think We’re Spending Enough Already On Health Care. … It’s A Matter Of Using The Resources Wisely.” “So how would Boren suggest providing health care insurance to more individuals? ‘I think we’re spending enough already on health care,’ Boren said. ‘It’s a matter of using the resources wisely.’” (James Beaty, “Boren Wary Of Government-Run Health Plan,” McAlester News-Capital, 7/10/09)
· Rep. Boren: “Said He Couldn’t Support Such An Issue” As Mandating That All Business Owners Provide Insurance Or Face A Fine. “One radical bill floating out in the legislature would mandate all business owners to provide insurance or they would face a fine. Boren said he couldn’t support such an issue.” (Julie Yates, “Boren Answers Questions At Elks,” The Daily Times, 5/29/09)
Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL): “I Think That There’s Still A Long Ways To Go.” “‘I think that there’s still a long ways to go,’ Rep. Allen Boyd (Fla.) said. ‘Many of us wish we would wait and do this after the Senate acts, and we’ve communicated that to leadership.’” (Steven T. Dennis And Tory Newmyer, “House Health Bill Under Fire,” Roll Call, 7/16/09)
· Rep. Boyd: “Not Enough Has Been Done On The Cost Side. … The Committee Has Not Done Enough To Reduce Costs In The System.” “If changes are not made to health care legislation currently before Congress, the bill is as good as dead, U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd said. The Monticello Democrat is a member of the ‘Blue Dog’ coalition, a group of 51 self-described fiscally conservative Democrats who have been actively lobbying for changes to the reform bill. ‘Not enough has been done on the cost side,’ Boyd said Monday. ‘The committee has not done enough to reduce costs in the system.’” (Matt Dixon, “Boyd: Health Care Bill Should Be Scrapped,” News Herald, 7/22/09)
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA): “Said A Lack Of Meaningful Medicare Reform Is One Of The Reasons He May Not Vote For The Bill.” “Braley said a lack of meaningful Medicare reform is one of the reasons he may not vote for the bill. The House draft legislation does too little to address the current system, he said. It penalizes doctors and hospitals in states like Iowa that consistently rank at the top in quality of care and bottom in Medicare reimbursement rates. He’s frustrated because language in the bill would prevent rates from being reduced for anyone who has been overpaid.” (Jens Manuel Krogstad, “Braley Town Hall Focuses On Health Care Reform,” WCF Courier, 7/20/09)
Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL): “Said He Will Vote Against The Current House Version Of The Healthcare Reform Bill.” “Congressman Bobby Bright said he will vote against the current House version of the Healthcare Reform Bill unless it changes drastically. ‘Not at all, not the way it is now,’ Bright said during a phone interview with the Dothan Eagle.” (Lance Griffin, “Bright: No To Current Healthcare Bill,” Dothan Eagle, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Bright: “Said He Opposes A ‘Public Option’ For Healthcare Reform.” “Bright said he opposes a ‘public option’ for healthcare reform. According to the current House bill, the public option would be a government subsidized plan that competes alongside current private healthcare plans. Bright said the public option placed too many healthcare decisions in the hands of government officials and could put private plans at a competitive disadvantage. ‘I have said this from the beginning, that I would support a healthcare plan that is market driven,’ Bright said.” (Lance Griffin, “Bright: No To Current Healthcare Bill,” Dothan Eagle, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Bright: “For Them To Try To Pay For Healthcare Reform On The Backs Of Small Businesses, I Can’t Support That.” “Bright said he also opposed tax increases on individuals making more than $250,000 annually because he believed it would disproportionately affect small business owners. ‘For them to try to pay for healthcare reform on the backs of small businesses, I can’t support that,’ he said.” (Lance Griffin, “Bright: No To Current Healthcare Bill,” Dothan Eagle, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Bright: “We Don’t Need A System Of Socialized Medicine Like We See In England Or Canada; That Doesn’t Work.” “Bright cautioned those attending not to listen to scare tactics that have sprung up in the health-care debate. ‘Universal health care doesn’t mean socialized medicine where the government controls everything,’ he said. ‘We don’t need a system of socialized medicine like we see in England or Canada; that doesn’t work.’” (Marty Roney, “Universal Care Not Socialism, Riley Says,” The Montgomery Advertiser, 5/30/09)
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL): Concerning The Surtax, “I Don’t Love It. I Hope There Will Be Some Other Options In The End.” “But of the proposed surtax on wealthiest Americans, Castor is more reserved. ‘I don’t love it. I hope there will be some other options in the end.’” (Alex Leary, “Health Care Debate Divides Florida,” St. Petersburg Times, 7/18/09)
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC): “I Don’t Think We Have To Have The Surcharge At All.” CLYBURN: “Well, the Republicans I’ve spoken with are very concerned about this surcharge, and I am concerned about that, too. I’ve had listening sessions working with John Larson, Xavier Baccera, the chair and vice chair of our caucus. We’ve had six listening sessions of our members, and we have come away from those sessions believing that we can do this with the savings that we will get out of the system. If we don’t get the scoring from CBO, we can still go ahead and do the plan as we envision the savings to be. And I don’t think we have to have the surcharge at all. A lot of Democrats on my side of the aisle believe that.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 7/20/09)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA): “I’m Not Persuaded Any Sort Of Tax Increase Is Needed.” “‘I’m not persuaded any sort of tax increase is needed,’ said Rep. Gerald Connolly, a first-term Democrat from Virginia. He suggests Democrats should focus more on finding budget savings. ‘The jury is still out on what, if anything, we have to do for revenue enhancement.’” (Greg Hitt And Martin Vaughan, “Health Bill In House Relies On Wealth Tax,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/11/09)
· Rep. Connolly: “Looking At A Tax Increase Before We Have Rung Out Every Possible Cost Savings, I Think Is A Mistake.” “Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia) explained to CBS News’ Nancy Cordes on Tuesday’s ‘Washington Unplugged’ why the tax increases in the House version of the health care bill give him (and at least twenty two other freshman Democrats) pause. ‘Looking at a tax increase before we have rung out every possible cost savings, I think is a mistake,’ he said.” (Michelle Levi, “House Freshman: Tax Increases Are Not Answer To Health Care,” CBS News, 7/21/09)
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN): “The Tax Increases On Small Businesses And Upper Income People Is Worrisome Because You Don’t Want To Hurt Job Creation At A Time Like This.” (ABC’s “World News,” 7/16/09)
· Rep. Cooper: “It Still Looks Like A Budget Buster.” “‘It still looks like a budget buster,’ said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), who complained that despite the $1 trillion cost it would still fail to cover every American.” (Steven T. Dennis And Tory Newmyer, “House Health Bill Under Fire,” Roll Call, 7/16/09)
· Rep. Cooper: “Pouring More Money Into A Broken System Isn’t A Really Good Idea.” “The bill proposed by the House would cost $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, and concerns about cost make Cooper apprehensive about the legislation. He says bringing in money from small business owners isn’t necessary, since there is enough ‘waste’ in the current system to pay for the program. ‘Pouring more money into a broken system isn’t a really good idea,’ Cooper said. ‘There’s so much waste in the health care system that we don’t really need to go outside the health care system.’” (“Unplugged: Moderate Dem Talks About Health Care,” CBS News, 7/15/09)
· Rep. Cooper: “Why Would We Want New Taxes In The Middle Of A Recession?” “Cooper, one of the Blue Dog Coalition’s experts on health-care reform, said the House bill ‘has good parts but also a lot of terrible parts.’ Among his objections, besides the bill’s cost, is a proposed tax on families making more than $350,000 per year, which he said would hurt small businesses. The tax would generate $540 billion over 10 years. ‘Why would we want new taxes in the middle of a recession?’ Cooper said.” (Bill Theobald, “Health Bill Faces Fight From Tennessee Blue Dogs,” Tennessean, 7/19/09)
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN): “I Cannot Support The Bill.” “On Thursday, Gordon and the other six Blue Dogs on the committee demonstrated their concerns about the bill by reading nearly identical opening statements. ‘I am thoroughly reviewing the bill. However, as currently written, I cannot support the bill,’ Gordon said after the hearing.” (Bill Theobald, “Health Bill Faces Fight From Tennessee Blue Dogs,” Tennessean, 7/19/09)
· Rep. Gordon: “We Cannot Fix These Problems By Simply Throwing More Money Into A Broken System.” “There are seven members of the Blue Dog Coalition on the Energy and Commerce panel. They expressed a broad range of concerns about the bill – ranging from its inclusion of a government-run public insurance plan to its treatment of rural areas – but focused mainly on its estimated $1 trillion cost. ‘We cannot fix these problems by simply throwing more money into a broken system,’ said Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., a member of the Blue Dogs.” (Patrick Yoest, “Moderate US House Democrats Cite Cost In Opposing Health Bill,” Dow Jones Newswires, 7/17/09)
Rep. John Hall (D-NY): “Has Reservations About The Tax Component.” “Rep. John Hall, D-Dover, Dutchess County, has reservations about the tax component. ‘This is a bill that is still in a state of flux,’ Hall said, noting that he’s working to make sure small businesses are not harmed.” (Brian Tumulty, “Health Plan Tax Meets Resistance,” Democrat And Chronicle, 7/20/09)
Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): “It’s Still A Work In Progress And I Think We Need To Reduce Costs Before Considering Other Options.” “Congressman Martin Heinrich says he’s not happy about a potential tax hike. ‘I think we have to be committed to providing health care reform this year to stabilize a very problematic system, but it’s still a work in progress and I think we need to reduce costs before considering other options,’ he said.” (“NM Congressmen Work To Complete Healthcare Bill,” KOB News 4, 7/21/09)
Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN): “Said This Morning He Would Not Vote For The Health Care Reform Bill In Its Present Form.” “Congressman Baron Hill said this morning he would not vote for the health care reform bill in its present form, primarily because he believes it lacks effective health care cost controls. … ‘There are seven of us blue dogs on the committee opposed to the bill in its present form,’ Hill said. ‘We met the last two days drafting amendments to the bill that address the issue of accountability and cost controls.’ Hill said he wants the bill to control costs by shifting the system away from the fee-for-service model, which he says financially rewards doctors and hospitals in direct proportion to the number of procedures they perform. ‘We need to create a medical system that makes sure the patient comes first instead of a system that rewards doctors for overutilizing services,’ he said. ‘That means getting rid of fee-for-service.’” (Dann Denny, “Baron Hill Wants Health Care Bill Modifications,” Herald-Times, 7/16/09)
· Rep. Hill: “I’ve Expressed Some Concerns To Our President And To Our Leadership That That’s Moving Awfully Quickly.” “Democratic House leaders have told Hill they want to pass the bill out of committee by next Wednesday or Thursday and President Barack Obama and House and Senate leaders want the bill voted on by the first of August. ‘I’ve expressed some concerns to our president and to our leadership that that’s moving awfully quickly,’ Hill said.” (Jill Hall, “Hill: Don’t Rush Reform,” The Tribune, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Hill: “It’s The Spending And The Cost.” “‘It’s the spending and the cost. The [Congressional Budget Office score] last week was really a hit across the bow,’ said Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), a Blue Dog leader and member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. ‘Blue Dogs took that as an opportunity to try and make some sense out of all the spending that’s in the bill. We must get it under control.’” (Mike Soraghan And Jared Allen, “Dems At Odds On How To Turn Tide On Health,” The Hill, 7/21/09)
· Rep. Hill: “I Think We Can Do A Whole Lot More Controlling Costs Here Before We Raise Taxes.” “Top among the Blue Dogs’ concerns is the bill’s cost. Currently, the legislation imposes a surtax on wealthy Americans to help pay for the plan, something Hill hopes will be unnecessary if he and other Blue Dogs get their way in imposing more cost controls. But he’s not ruling anything out. ‘I’ve got to keep an open mind’ about financing health care, Hill said. But, he added, ‘I think we can do a whole lot more controlling costs here before we raise taxes.’” (Lesley Stedman Weidenbener, “Hill: change Health-Care Bills,” The Courier-Journal, 7/18/09)
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH): “‘Concerned’ About The Taxes On Small Businesses And The Wealthy.” “Although Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Columbus, was the only freshman Democrat from Ohio not to sign the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Kilroy spokesman Paul Tencher said she still is ‘concerned’ about the taxes on small businesses and the wealthy.” (Jack Torry, “Ohio Democrats Call Out Pelosi On Health Bill,” The Columbus Dispatch, 7/21/09)
Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI): Voted Against The Health Care Bill In The House Ways And Means Committee. “The House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation early Friday to overhaul the health care system and expand insurance coverage after a marathon session in which Democrats easily turned back Republican efforts to amend the bill. … In the Ways and Means vote, three Democrats — Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and John Tanner of Tennessee — joined Republicans in voting against the bill.” (Robert Pear, “House Committee Approves Health Care Bill,” The New York Times, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Kind: “We Have To Have Real Reform.” “If that’s the case, fundamental changes will have to be made, several Democrats said. ‘We have to have real reform,’ said Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee who is pushing leaders to revisit Medicare’s complicated funding formula.” (Patrick O’Connor, “Rank-And-File House Dems Don’t Like It,” Politico, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Kind: “We Are Not Doing Enough To Reform The Health Care Delivery System, To Change The Incentives So Reimbursement Will Be Based On The Value, Rather Than The Volume Of Services.” “House Democrats who voted no cited various concerns. ‘We are not doing enough to reform the health care delivery system, to change the incentives so reimbursement will be based on the value, rather than the volume, of services,’ Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin said.” (Robert Pear And David M. Herszenhorn, “Democrats Grow Wary As Health Bill Advances,” The New York Times, 7/18/09)
Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA): “We’re Not There Yet, Where I Want Us To Be.” “Loebsack said, though, the bill is far from perfect, especially when it comes to the Medicare reimbursement system. ‘We’re not there yet, where I want us to be,’ Loebsack said.” (Christinia Crippes, “House Closes In On Health Care Reform,” The Hawk Eye, 7/19/09)
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY): “Also Isn’t Ready To Back The Surcharge.” “Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, Westchester County, also isn’t ready to back the surcharge, according to her spokesman, Matthew Dennis. ‘Before she supports another tax on her already heavily taxed constituents, she wants to be sure we maximize savings by squeezing insurers as much as possible,’ Dennis said in an e-mail. ‘That must be determined before we put more burdens on American families. The process is far from over, though, and she will work to reduce the number of people who could be affected by the surcharge and the amount they would pay.’” (Brian Tumulty, “Health Plan Tax Meets Resistance,” Democrat And Chronicle, 7/20/09)
Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO): “I’ve Got My Concerns.” “‘I’ve got my concerns,’ said Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), a centrist lawmaker from a strongly Republican district. ‘We’ve got to address cost, quality and coverage, with cost being No. 1.’” (Mike Soraghan, “House Dems Show First Draft Of Health Reform Bill,” The Hill, 6/9/09)
Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA): “He Is Opposed To The House Bill In Its Present Form And Does Not Believe It Will Become Law.” “U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall joined a group of fellow Democrats in opposing a bill that would make massive changes in the American health care system. Marshall released Friday a letter signed by 34 self-described ‘fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats’ listing objections to the bill. The Macon Democrat helped draft the letter and signed it, according to a news release from Marshall’s office. It quotes his spokesman, Doug Moore, as saying ‘Jim supports fiscally responsible health care reform. He is opposed to the House bill in its present form and does not believe it will become law.’” (Bernard O’Donnell, “Marshall Opposes Health-Care Bill,” 13WMAZ.com, 7/17/09)
Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY): “So If I Had To Vote On The Bill Today, I Would Not Be Able To Support It.” “We spoke to Massa to find out exactly where he stood on the issue. ‘So if I had to vote on the bill today, I would not be able to support it. On the other hand we can not simply sit back and do nothing’, said Massa.” (Nick Natario, “Conflicting Stories,” WETM 18, 7/19/09)
· Rep. Massa: “But I Will Not Vote For A Bill That Gets It Wrong, And If I Had To Vote Today For The Current Piece Of Legislation In Front Of Congress, I Would Not Be Able To Support It.” “U.S. Rep. Eric Massa said if he had to vote today on America’s Affordable Health Care Choices Act, he would probably vote against it. ‘We all know that one in six don’t have health insurance. We all know that we pay more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world. These things need to be addressed, and doing nothing, which is what so many want to do, is simply not an option,’ said Massa, D-Corning. ‘But I will not vote for a bill that gets it wrong, and if I had to vote today for the current piece of legislation in front of Congress, I would not be able to support it,’ he said Tuesday during his weekly teleconference with the media.” (Ray Finger, “Massa Wary Of Health Care Reform Bill,” Star-Gazette, 7/22/09)
· Rep. Massa: Worried New Yorkers “Could End Up Paying A Disproportionate Amount Into The New System.” “A $1.5 trillion proposal to make health insurance available to every American could be unfair to New Yorkers, U.S. Rep. Eric Massa said Wednesday, July 15. The Corning Democrat said he’s concerned New Yorkers could end up paying a disproportionate amount into the new system that relies on the wealthiest, medical providers and employers to foot most of the bill. ‘I’m opposed to it and it may be a deal-breaker,’ Massa said in a morning conference call.” (Joe Dunning, “Massa: New Yorkers Would Suffer Most On Health Care Bill,” The Courier, 7/19/09)
· Rep. Massa: “At A Time When New York Residents Are Up Against The Wall Taxation-Wise, I’m Reluctant To Go Down That Road.” “Massa said his chief concern so far is the tax impact to help pay for the program. Under the plan, a 5.4 percent tax increase would be levied on those making more than $1 million a year, with a gradual tax beginning at incomes starting at $280,000. In New York, that would affect 5 percent of the work force compared to only 1.2 percent of workers nationwide, Massa said referring to numbers supplied by Citizens for Tax Justice, a watchdog group. ‘At at time when New York residents are up against the wall taxation-wise, I’m reluctant to go down that road,’ Massa said.” (Joe Dunning, “Massa: New Yorkers Would Suffer Most On Health Care Bill,” The Courier, 7/19/09)
· Rep. Massa: “I Think We’re Moving Too Fast On Too Many Things.” “The House leadership wants to have this legislation done before end of July, Massa said, noting that is a significant concern. ‘I think we’re moving too fast on too many things,’ he said. ‘I would rather see these proposals put up, have members of Congress go back to their districts for the month of August, hear from their constituents and then return. So I’m very concerned.’” (Ray Finger, “Massa: Health Bill Must Cover All,” Star-Gazette, 6/24/09)
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT): “We Cannot Fix These Problems By Simply Pouring More Money Into A Broken System.” “The reform proposal, which seeks to control costs while expanding care, is facing a tough fight in the Energy and Commerce committee, mainly because of Blue Dogs like Matheson, who say the current bill is too costly. ‘We cannot fix these problems by simply pouring more money into a broken system,’ Matheson said.” (Matt Canham, “Obama Group Targets Matheson With Health Care Ad,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 7/19/09)
· Rep. Matheson: “If We Don’t Reform The System To Get Costs Under Control, Then Nothing Else Matters. … We’re Jut Putting More People Into A Broken System.” “Rep. Jim Matheson, a moderate Democrat from Utah, suggested Mr. Elmendorf’s assessment ‘is of great concern’ and called for renewed focus on restraining spending. ‘If we don’t reform the system to get costs under control, then nothing else matters,’ he said. ‘We’re just putting more people into a broken system.’” (Greg Hitt, “Budget Blow For Health Plan,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Matheson: “Take Whatever Time It Takes To Have A Good Bill.” “But Matheson said afterward that the group will still ‘take whatever time it takes to have a good bill,’ and will ‘not be rushed by a deadline.’ House Democratic leaders have said they want to pass reform out of committee by July 31, when the House starts its summer recess.” (Lee Davidson, “Obama Meets With Matheson On Health Care,” Deseret News, 7/22/09)
Rep. Mike McMahon (D-NY): “I’m Not Convinced We Should Raise Taxes To Pay For This Until We Can Be Certain That We Have Squeezed As Much Revenue From The System As We Can.” “Instead of raising taxes, some House Democrats say, lawmakers should dig deeper to find more savings in the health system. ‘I’m not convinced we should raise taxes to pay for this until we can be certain that we have squeezed as much revenue from the system as we can,’ said Rep. Mike McMahon, D-N.Y.” (Martin Vaughan, “House Democrat: US Lawmakers Should Also Pay Health Surtax,” Dow Jones Newswires, 7/17/09)
Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA): “This Needs To Be Budget-Neutral, Meaning No New Dollars Are Spent Until We Find All The Savings We Can In The Current System.” “Melancon, a member of the conservative Democratic group the Blue Dog Coalition, has identified some parameters of what the healthcare reform bill should include. ‘This needs to be budget-neutral, meaning no new dollars are spent until we find all the savings we can in the current system,’ he said. ‘That means avoiding the duplication and concentrate our money on preventative medicine.’” (Keyon K. Jeff, “Congressman Elicits Local Input On The State Of Tri-Parish Healthcare,” Tri-Parish Times, 6/5/09)
Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME): “Businesses Are Having A Hard Enough Time Providing Coverage For Their Employees. … It Would Be Going In The Wrong Direction To Tax Businesses.” “In the House of Representatives, Rep. Michael Michaud of Maine’s second district said he is ‘not wedded to [Obama’s] time frame; I’m wedded to the idea that we do what is right for the country.’ As a fiscally conservative ‘blue dog’ Democrat, Michaud said, one of his primary concerns is how much the health care reform will cost and how it might be funded. He is opposed to taxing employer-sponsored benefits, one idea that has been floated. ‘Businesses are having a hard enough time providing coverage for their employees,’ he said. ‘It would be going in the wrong direction to tax businesses.’” (Meg Haskell, “Maine Leaders Weigh In On Health Care Bills,” Bangor Daily News, 6/27/09)
Rep. Scott Murphy (D-NY): “I Don’t Think This Is The Right Way To Pay For Health Care Reform.” “The plan, which would impose a surtax on individuals making more than $280,000 and couples making more than $400,000, is part of a bill the House could vote on by the end of the month. ‘The bill needs to be more focused on taking costs out of the system,’ said Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls. ‘I don’t think this is the right way to pay for health care reform.’” (Brian Tumulty, “Health Plan Tax Meets Resistance,” Democrat And Chronicle, 7/20/09)
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN): “There Is Enough Money In The System To Make This Work. What They’re Talking About Doing Here Is Just Adding Some More Gasoline To The Fire That Going To Burn Down This Country.” “Here’s a little secret you might not know about the health care reform being debated in Washington: Minnesota might not want it. At least, that’s how members of Congress from Minnesota are talking about the reform proposals on the table right now. They’re not sure that the potential cures for the system – requiring everyone to have insurance, expanding Medicare or taxing health benefits – won’t be worse than what currently ails health care. ‘They’re trying to put a tax on people, so that they can keep the existing system going, and then add some more cost to it,’ said Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District. ‘And it doesn’t need to be done. There is enough money in the system to make this work. What they’re talking about doing here is just adding some more gasoline to the fire that’s going to burn down this country. And I’m not going to go along with that.’ Peterson’s a Democrat, and he’s for health care reform. Like most members of Congress, he thinks more people should be covered and that health insurance is too expensive.” (Tim Nelson, “Minnesota Delegation Wary Of Proposed Health Care Reform,” Minnesota Public Radio, 7/14/09)
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO): Voted Against The Health Care Bill In The Education And Labor Committee. “Two key House committees moved along Democratic healthcare legislation on Friday, only days after the bill was introduced. … The Education and Labor Committee approved their portion of the bill by a 26-22 vote. Democratic Reps. Jared Polis (Colo.), Dina Titus (Nev.) and Jason Altimire (Pa.) voted against the bill.” (Michael O’Brien, “House Committees Advance Healthcare Overhaul,” The Hill, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Polis: “The Surcharge Is A Bit Of A Flawed Concept.” “Mr. Baucus isn’t considering a major new tax of the sort being pushed in the House. That’s prompting a chorus of House Democrats to call for their leadership to wait and see what Mr. Baucus produces before forcing rank-and-file lawmakers to take a career-defining vote on whether to levy a hefty new surtax on wealthy households. ‘From a political perspective, there’s wisdom and advantage to waiting for the other body,’ said Rep. Jared Polis, a first-term Democrat from Colorado. Mr. Polis fears the levy would hurt small, family-owned businesses, which often pay individual income taxes, rather than corporate taxes. ‘The surcharge is a bit of a flawed concept,’ he said.” (Greg Hitt And Patrick Yoest, “Centrists Seek To Slow Health Bill Timetable,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/18/09)
· Rep. Polis: “The Way We Are Paying For Health Reform Would Put A Lot Of Strain On Small Business, Which Is Particularly Dangerous During A Recession.” “On Friday, a group of freshman House Democrats traveled to the White House to talk with Obama about their opposition to provisions in the House bill to raise taxes on wealthy Americans. ‘The way we are paying for health reform would put a lot of strain on small business, which is particularly dangerous during a recession,’ said Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a leader of the group.” (Noam Levey, “Obama’s Team Weights In On Healthcare Overhaul,” Los Angeles Times, 7/18/09)
· Rep. Polis: New Taxes “Could Cost Jobs In A Recession.” “On Capitol Hill, the picture is more complex. Representative Jared Polis, a freshman Democrat from Colorado who voted against the bill approved Friday in the Education and Labor Committee, said he worried that the new taxes ‘could cost jobs in a recession.’ … Mr. Polis said these taxes, combined with the scheduled increase in tax rates resulting from the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts, would have a perverse effect. ‘Some successful family-owned businesses would be taxed at higher rates than multinational corporations,’ he said.” (Robert Pear And David M. Herszenhorn, “Democrats Grow Wary As Health Bill Advances,” The New York Times, 7/18/09)
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND): Voted Against The Health Care Bill In The House Ways And Means Committee. “The House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation early Friday to overhaul the health care system and expand insurance coverage after a marathon session in which Democrats easily turned back Republican efforts to amend the bill. … In the Ways and Means vote, three Democrats — Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and John Tanner of Tennessee — joined Republicans in voting against the bill.” (Robert Pear, “House Committee Approves Health Care Bill,” The New York Times, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Pomeroy: “Said He Will Not Support A Health Care Reform Bill In His House Committee Tomorrow Because It Could Financially Hurt North Dakota Health Care Providers.” “Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., said he will not support a health care reform bill in his House committee tomorrow because it could financially hurt North Dakota health care providers. House lawmakers unveiled a first draft of their plan to reform the nation’s health care system on Tuesday, with a public option that would pay health care providers at reimbursement rates used by Medicare, the government-run health care program for Americans 65 and older. Hospitals would receive an additional 5 percent reimbursement under the plan. Pomeroy, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said that would hurt rural states like North Dakota, which has some of the lowest Medicare reimbursement rates in the nation — a common concern among North Dakota health care providers.” (Brian Duggan, “Pomeroy Says Bill Would Hurt N.D. Providers,” Bismarck Tribune, 7/15/09)
· Rep. Pomeroy: “Said Today That He Will Vote Against The Health Care Reform Bill … Because It Would Tie The Payment Schedule For A New Public Option Insurance Plan To Existing Medicare Payments.” “Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., said today that he will vote against the health care reform bill when it comes before the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday because it would tie the payment schedule for a new public option insurance plan to existing Medicare payments. Hospitals and other health care providers in North Dakota are seriously under-reimbursed by Medicare, he said, and ‘there is no way we would sustain existing levels of care,’ including access to hospitals and specialists, with a public insurance option linked to Medicare payment schedules.” (Chuck Haga, “Pomeroy Says He Will Vote Against Health Care Reform Bill,” Grand Forks Herald, 7/15/09)
· Rep. Pomeroy: “I Have A Serious Problem With The Public Plan In This Bill Because It’s Based On Medicare Rates.” “Others worry that a government-run health plan, to be created under the House bill, would underpay doctors and hospitals by using Medicare reimbursement rates. ‘I have a serious problem with the public plan in this bill because it’s based on Medicare rates,’ Representative Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota said. ‘North Dakota is underpaid by Medicare.’” (Robert Pear And David M. Herszenhorn, “Democrats Grow Wary As Health Bill Advances,” The New York Times, 7/18/09)
· Rep. Pomeroy: “There’s A Very Regional Disparity In This Bill. I’m Highly Annoyed By That Inequity.” “He said if a third of North Dakotans transferred their health care coverage to such a public health insurance plan, North Dakota hospitals would be poised to lose $138 million a year. ‘There is no way we will sustain the availability of care … if our health care system was to take that big a hit,’ Pomeroy said, adding ‘There’s a very regional disparity in this bill. I’m highly annoyed by that inequity.’” (Brian Duggan, “Pomeroy Says Bill Would Hurt N.D. Providers,” Bismarck Tribune, 7/15/09)
Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR): “No One Knows What The Public Option Will Or Will Not Be Able To Achieve. … Frankly, It’s An Experiment.” “‘No one knows what the public option will or will not be able to achieve,’ said Representative Mike Ross of Arkansas, a Blue Dog leader. ‘Frankly, it’s an experiment. We cannot create a public option that stacks the deck against a system that currently provides coverage to more than 160 million Americans.’” (Robert Pear, “Obama Open To A Mandate On Health Insurance,” The New York Times, 6/3/09)
· Rep. Ross: “We Need To Slow Down And Do It Right.” “‘We need to slow down and do it right,’ Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., said outside a meeting of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 52 moderate to conservative Democrats. ‘It needs to do a much better job of cost containment’ within the health care system, he added.” (David Espo And Eric Werner, “Health Care Overhaul Suffers Another Setback,” The Associated Press, 7/9/09)
· Rep. Ross: “We Cannot Fix These Problems By Simply Pouring More Money Into A Broken System.” “The CBO director’s assessment also underscored concerns that moderate to conservative House Democrats known as Blue Dogs have with the bill backed by their leadership. ‘We cannot fix these problems by simply pouring more money into a broken system,’ said Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., chairman of the Blue Dogs’ health care task force.” (David Espo, “Health Care Overhaul Bill Has Its Ups And Downs,” The Associated Press, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Ross: “We Had Seven Against It Last Friday; We Have 10 Today.” “U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., a leader of fiscally conservative House Democrats, said Wednesday a House plan to overhaul the U.S. health-care system is losing support and will be stuck in committee without changes. ‘Last time I checked, it takes seven Democrats to stop a bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee,’ Ross told reporters after a House vote. ‘We had seven against it last Friday; we have 10 today.’” (Martin Vaughan, “Centrist Dem Leader: Has Committee Votes To Block Health Bill,” Dow Jones Newswires, 7/15/09)
· Rep. Ross: “The Current Bill Would Have To Be Substantially Amended Before We Could Consider Supporting It.” “Ross said the bill, introduced Wednesday by House Democratic leaders, doesn’t include provisions adequate to curb rising health care costs, including what the government spends on healthcare. ‘The current bill would have to be substantially amended before we could consider supporting it,’ Ross said.” (Martin Vaughan, “Centrist Dem Leader: Has Committee Votes To Block Health Bill,” Dow Jones Newswires, 7/15/09)
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH): “We Clearly Don’t Want Any Federal Funding For Abortions.” “A group of Democratic legislators sought Tuesday night to shape a compromise measure with an amendment say that abortion coverage could not be mandated as a part of insurance plans, but that insurance companies also couldn’t be prohibited from offering that coverage if they chose to. ‘We clearly don’t want any federal funding for abortions,’ said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), the lead author of a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposing the measure, which is unlikely to satisfy conservatives. ‘I think this is where both sides can come together.’” (Ben Smith, “Abortion Roils Already Tense Health Debate,” Politico, 7/22/09)
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD): “Has Little Enthusiasm For A Plan To Impose A Surtax On People.” “Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has little initial enthusiasm for a plan to impose a surtax on people earning more than $280,000 and couples making $350,000 or more to pay for health care reform. The surtax and income tax would be expected to raise $550 billion over 10 years. It is being proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee. ‘Ways and Means last week took me a little bit by surprise, as well as a lot of folks,’ Herseth Sandlin said.” (Peter Harriman, “Tax Plan Fails To Impress Herseth Sandlin,” Argus Leader, 7/16/09)
· Rep. Herseth Sandlin: Surtax “Not My First Choice.” “The surtax is ‘not my first choice,’ said one Blue Dog Democrat, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota. ‘I’ve got some concerns.’” (Kristin Jensen And James Rowley, “Health Bill Hits Snag As Budget Office Questions Cost-Cutting,” Bloomberg, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Herseth Sandlin: “I Don’t Agree With Those Who Say If We Don’t Get This Before August, We Will Never Get It Done.” “‘I don’t agree with those who say if we don’t get this before August, we will never get it done,’ she said. ‘I think the window is a little broader than some people claim.’ Rather than a potential black hole that can swallow up momentum, Herseth Sandlin said the August recess actually can give members of Congress a chance to return home and make a stronger case for reform. She also predicts a bill will make its way through Congress and to President Obama by the end of the year.” (Peter Harriman, “Tax Plan Fails To Impress Herseth Sandlin,” Argus Leader, 7/16/09)
· Rep. Herseth Sandlin: “I Am Not Prepared To Vote Unless I See Substantial Movement My Way.” “While she is willing to vote for something before the recess, ‘I am not prepared to vote unless I see substantial movement my way,’ Herseth Sandlin said. ‘My thinking is the substance dictates the timing,’ she said.” (Peter Harriman, “Tax Plan Fails To Impress Herseth Sandlin,” Argus Leader, 7/16/09)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): “I Don’t Think We Have Significant Cost-Containment Mechanisms In The Proposal Yet.” “‘I don’t think we have significant cost-containment mechanisms in the proposal yet,’ said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. He said he favors provisions aimed at preventing overtreatment of patients and overpayments to doctors, hospitals and other providers.” (David Espo And Eric Werner, “Health Care Overhaul Suffers Another Setback,” The Associated Press, 7/9/09)
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC): “He Does Not Support The Legislation In Its Current Form.” “Shuler, a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, said the House bill accomplishes one objective of health reform, to expand access to health insurance, but does not do enough to reduce costs. ‘While I do believe that we must ensure that every American has access to affordable, high-quality health care, it is imperative that we fix the current system to eliminate the waste and abuse that has significantly contributed to our skyrocketing health care costs,’ Shuler said in a statement. While he does not support the legislation in its current form, Shuler said he is working to improve the bill by cutting waste and fraud, and adding reforms that include giving consumers incentive to live healthier lives.” (Bill Theobald, “Blue Dogs Key In Health Plan,” Asheville Citizen-Times, 7/22/09)
Rep. Zack Space (D-OH): “We Share Some Concerns About The Bill That’s Been Presented To Us By Leadership, Specifically Concerning Cost Issues And The Speech At Which We Are Moving.” “‘I and the rest of my Blue Dog Coalition… are deeply committed to fixing the health care delivery system,’ Space said in an interview Tuesday. ‘However, we share some concerns about the bill that’s been presented to us by leadership, specifically concerning cost issues and the speed at which we are moving.’” (Bill Theobald, “Rep. Space At Center Of Health-Care Reform Debate,” Zanesville Times Recorder, 7/21/09)
· Rep. Space: “Reading The Bill Is One Thing. I’d Like To Get Feedback From My Constituents And Health Care Providers.” “Space said something as important as fixing the nation’s health care system should not be rushed. ‘What we are trying to do is make sure that it’s a deliberate and thorough process,’ Space said. ‘Reading the bill is one thing. I’d like to get feedback from my constituents and health care providers back home.’” (Bill Theobald, “Rep. Space At Center Of Health-Care Reform Debate,” Zanesville Times Recorder, 7/21/09)
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI): “I Cannot Support This Bill In Its Current Form.” “‘I cannot support this bill in its current form,’ Democrat Bart Stupak said, adding it did not provide real competition for the insurance industry and could hike costs for consumers.” (Kim Dixon, “Obama Looks For Republican Healthcare Backing,” Reuters, 7/16/09)
· Rep. Stupak: “You’ve Got A Broken System. We Are Perpetuating A Broken System.” “Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) cast himself as one of eight opponents of the bill as written on Energy and Commerce. ‘You’ve got a broken system. We are perpetuating a broken system,’ Stupak said. ‘They’ve got to address our concerns, or the other option is a “no” vote.’ He also said opponents might try to block a bill by defeating the House rule on the floor.” (Jeffrey Young, “House Leaders Cheer Healthcare Progress Amid Infighting,” The Hill, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Stupak: “Why Would We Give You More Money For A System That’s Broken?” “Stupak’s concerns are varied, but they include his desire for a prohibition on federal funding for abortions as part of the public insurance option under consideration, as well as a demand for deeper cost cuts and dealing with regional disparities under Medicare. Fundamentally, the bill does not fix the broken health care system, he said. ‘Why would we give you more money for a system that’s broken?’ he asked.” (Steven T. Dennis, “Stupak Warns Of Democratic Defections On Health Bill,” Roll Call, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Stupak: “Why Does One Person Make The Decisions In Washington, D.C.?” “Stupak also is upset about the creation of a new national health czar who would set the rules for health insurance plans. ‘Why does one person make the decisions in Washington, D.C.?’ he asked. ‘What’s Congress’ role? … ‘Just give us the money.’ We have no say in it.’” (Steven T. Dennis, “Stupak Warns Of Democratic Defections On Health Bill,” Roll Call, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Stupak: “We Need To Quit Doing Health Care By A Clock. … That’s The President’s Agenda, Not Our Agenda.” “Stupak said he believes the House can pass a health bill, but not by the Aug. 31 deadline. ‘We need to quit doing health care by a clock,’ Stupak said. ‘That’s the president’s agenda, not our agenda.’” (Jeffrey Young, “House Leaders Cheer Healthcare Progress Amid Infighting,” The Hill, 7/17/09)
Rep. John Tanner (D-TN): Voted Against The Health Care Bill In The House Ways And Means Committee. “The House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation early Friday to overhaul the health care system and expand insurance coverage after a marathon session in which Democrats easily turned back Republican efforts to amend the bill. … In the Ways and Means vote, three Democrats — Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and John Tanner of Tennessee — joined Republicans in voting against the bill.” (Robert Pear, “House Committee Approves Health Care Bill,” The New York Times, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Tanner: “I Don’t There’s Been Enough Emphasis On Removing The Inefficiencies That Exist In The Current System Before You Put More Money In.” “‘I don’t think there’s been enough emphasis on removing the inefficiencies that exist in the current system before you put more money in,’ said Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), an influential Blue Dog who is also a chief deputy whip. ‘We’re not doing the reform. We need an incremental approach to get rid of these inefficiencies in the system.’ Tanner, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the healthcare proposal’s tax policy, also says ‘there’s a great deal of uneasiness’ about the tax plans under discussion.” (Mike Soraghan, “Speaker Pelosi Makes Aggressive Push To Finish Healthcare Reform This Month,” The Hill, 7/8/09)
Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS): “I Don’t Think We Need To Make More Promises Until We Can Figure Out How We Are Going To Pay For The Ones We Have Already Made.” “Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who also signed the ATR pledge, believes the tax provisions in the healthcare reform bill will place additional financial burdens on the country at a time when it is already overburdened. ‘We can’t afford the promises that we have already made,’ Taylor said. ‘Between the prescription drug benefit and the Medicare trust fund running out in the next seven years, I don’t think we need to make more promises until we can figure out how we are going to pay for the ones we have already made.’” (Michael M. Gleeson, “Rep. Andrews, Norquist Butt Heads On Tax Pledge,” The Hill, 7/20/09)
Rep. Harry Teague (D-NM): “I Just Want To Be Sure That We don’t Try To Do All This Solely On The Backs Of Small Business.” “Congressman Teague is worried about the impact a health bill could have on the economy. ‘You know, as a small business owner in Hobbs, I know how important small businesses are to communities,’ Teague said. ‘I just want to be sure that we don’t try to do all this solely on the backs of small business.’” (“NM Congressmen Work To Complete Healthcare Bill,” KOB News 4, 7/21/09)
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV): Voted Against The Health Care Bill In The Education And Labor Committee. “Two key House committees moved along Democratic healthcare legislation on Friday, only days after the bill was introduced. … The Education and Labor Committee approved their portion of the bill by a 26-22 vote. Democratic Reps. Jared Polis (Colo.), Dina Titus (Nev.) and Jason Altimire (Pa.) voted against the bill.” (Michael O’Brien, “House Committees Advance Healthcare Overhaul,” The Hill, 7/17/09)
· Rep. Titus: “Increasing Taxes Than Can Affect Small Businesses In My District Will Make It Harder For Them To Be The Engines Of Growth That Pull Us Out Of This Recession And Put People Back To Work.” “Titus, who signed the letter, cited those concerns in explaining her vote against the bill at the committee level. ‘This was a difficult vote. There are positive aspects of this legislation like ending the practice of denial based on preexisting condition and making insurance portable. I know that families across Nevada are struggling due to the high cost of health care, but I have concerns regarding the tax portion of this legislation,’ Titus said. ‘We are working hard to lift our economy out of this recession and to promote growth and job creation. Increasing taxes that can affect small businesses in my district will make it harder for them to be the engines of growth that pull us out of this recession and put people back to work,’ she added.” (Jonathan Allen, “Freshmen Join Blue Dogs In Opposition To Health Bill,” CQ Politics, 7/17/09)
Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN): “I’m Concerned With Getting This Right.” “With that in mind, Walz said he’s less anxious about getting a reform bill passed by the end of next week – a goal set by President Barack Obama – and more worried about making sure the legislation is well crafted. ‘I’m concerned with getting this right,’ the second-term Democrat said. ‘There’s nothing more important, I think, than getting health care reform right. … This is going to be one of those generational opportunities.’” (Mark Fischenich, “Walz Favors Health-Care Reform,” Mankato Free Press, 7/22/09)