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Partisan reaction to healthcare bill passage

by Joe Arnold


Posted on March 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Just like the vote in the U.S. House Sunday night, the reaction to the passage of President Obama's massive overhaul of healthcare is extremely partisan.

Here's what Kentuckiana pols are saying:

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R)

McConnell Statement on House Passage of Partisan Health Spending Bill
 ‘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’

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement regarding House passage of the 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.”

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway

Legislation to save $200 billion tax dollars is Conway's first priority if elected to the Senate

LOUISVILLE -Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway today issued this statement on the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of comprehensive health care reform legislation:

"This legislation is a rare opportunity to stop insurance company abuses, lower costs for businesses and individuals, and provide affordable coverage for up to 654,000 Kentuckians who are uninsured. In a few days, the Senate will get a chance to vote on this bill. If I had the honor of being Kentucky's Senator, I would vote for it because, while far from perfect, it expands coverage for uninsured Americans, stops insurance companies from discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions and helps small businesses. It has taken decades to get this close and I would vote to get this bill over the finish line."

"I am pleased this legislation does not contain the Nebraska compromise, which I have repeatedly said was distasteful and everything that is wrong with Washington. However, it does not give Medicare bulk purchasing power for prescription drugs, which could save taxpayers $200 billion dollars. Unfortunately, Washington struck a deal with the big pharmaceutical companies that took this issue off the table.  If I am elected Senator, the first piece of legislation I introduce will repeal this special interest giveaway. To truly reform the health care system, we need to cut health care costs while maintaining benefits and this $200 billion dollars in savings needs to be part of the solution.

"I think it's important that Kentucky voters know where their candidates for the United States Senate stand on this issue. I support this bill while my opponent has said he would 'throw it all out and start over.' According to CNHI, my opponent's position is 'basically the same line used by Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's senior senator and Republican Leader.' There is a clear choice in this race. I support health care coverage for all Kentuckians while my opponent, Daniel Mongiardo agrees with Mitch McConnell and Republicans who want to kill health care reform legislation.

Statement by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) on passage of federal health care bill

“Our two best hopes for more jobs are investment and small business.  The new ‘health care’ bill raises taxes drastically on both, and will harm our economic prospects badly.  Hoosiers will also face higher state taxes as Medicaid rolls explode. It will raise by trillions the crushing debt we already are leaving young Americans; any claims to the contrary are worse than mistaken, they are knowingly fraudulent.  In a life of optimism about America and its future, this morning I am as discouraged as I can remember being.”

Mike Sodrel (R) congressional campaign

Well, it's official. Your current Congressman, Baron Hill, has sent out a press release saying he will "proudly" vote for the JOB KILLING government takeover of our nation's health care system. Anyone who believes government cost estimates to be certain, as released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), probably believes in the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny.

When did the government ever accomplish anything "under budget?" We can make health care more affordable, more portable, and more available without passing a 2600-page bill-"That only God knows" what is in it. In fact, Speaker Pelosi said, "We need to pass this bill so we can find out what is in it."

We need to "Kill the Bill" and start over on health care reform. We need to keep what works and fix what does not work. And, in November, we need a new member of Congress.

Republican Congressional candidate Travis Hankins

Columbus- Travis Hankins reacts to Congressman Baron Hill’s vote in favor of ObamaCare.

Hankins says, "Baron Hill just voted to weaken individual freedom, fund abortion, increase the deficit, kill jobs, raise taxes, and socialize medicine all in one bill."

“The American people are sick and tired of career politicians who put their own career and the needs of their special interest friends ahead of the oath they took to preserve and protect the Constitution.”

Hankins continues, "Our voices will be heard in November."

Hankins will continue the fight against ObamaCare through grassroots activism, educating the public, petitions to the courts, calls for action by the state and recruiting conservatives all across the country to run against Big Government politicians of both major parties.

Travis Hankins is a real estate investor and conservative activist seeking the GOP nomination in Indiana’s ninth Congressional district.

More information can be found at www.travishankins.com.

Congressman Brett Guthrie (R)

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) made the following remarks on the House floor today, Sunday, March 21, 2010, prior to the vote on the health care bill:
(Remarks as prepared)

“I always talk about this process as - it looks like they’re trying to put a puzzle together and their trying to do anything they can to make the pieces fit, but in the end it doesn’t tell a picture.”

“And one of the pieces that they are trying to make fit to keep the bill under a trillion dollars is an unfunded mandate on states.”

“As we are here today, my former colleagues in the state senate in Kentucky are meeting to put together a budget bill.”

“They are working tirelessly to close a billion dollar budget gap while preserving the momentum we have had in education reform and trying to make college more affordable.”

“And what does this bill do - it puts a $30 billion unfunded mandate by CBO estimates onto our states.”

To the south of Kentucky, Phil Bredesen - a very well respected Democratic Governor of Tennessee says this is the mother of all unfunded mandates.”

“Just to the north of me in Indiana, Governor Mitch Daniels said a half-a-million more Hoosiers will be on Medicaid, costing the state billions in taxpayer dollars.”

“It is going to cost my state, according to Heritage Foundation, $303 million beginning from 2014 to 2019.”

“So, my former colleagues are sitting there trying to get through the state budget, hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel for the next budget session. If we pass this bill, the light at the end of the tunnel will be a $303 million freight train.”

“And on top of that, included in the proposed reconciliation package, is the government takeover of student loans.”

“The government is now taking the money students pay in interest and fees. Instead of taking the lower interest rate the government is given and passing that savings onto the students to make college more affordable, they are taking money and using it to fund this bill.”

“Mr. Speaker, it is unfair to put these burdens on our states and students.”

Congressman Geoff Davis (R) Rejects Democrats’ Trillion-Dollar Government Takeover of Health Care

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Davis issued the following statement tonight after passage of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s health care package (H.R. 3590, the Senate health care bill, and H.R. 4872, the reconciliation package):

“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)
• Increases taxes by $569.2 billion on small businesses and middle-class families.
o The bill raises $60 billion in taxes before any of the major benefits even go into effect.
o 98% of the major benefits do not start until 2014.
• Includes over $520 billion in cuts to Medicare, cutting benefits and raising premiums on seniors.
o Includes $206 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage.
• Expands Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty level, a $20 billion unfunded mandate on already thinly stretched State budgets.
o From 2014 to 2019, this will cost Kentucky an additional $303 million.
• Contains a marriage penalty that will mean higher premiums for married couples.
• Americans who do not obtain “acceptable health insurance coverage” must pay a 2.5% tax.

Congressman Ed Whitfield (R) Opposes Final Healthcare Package

Congressman Votes Against Bill Which Will Raise Premiums, Hurt Small Businesses and Increase Debt

WASHINGTON – 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.

Congressman John Yarmuth (D) Representing Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District


March 21, 2010  MEDIA CONTACT

Congressman Yarmuth Votes for Historic Legislation to Guarantee Access to Affordable, High-Quality Health Care for All Americans

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will help 15,000 Louisville small businesses, end discrimination for pre-existing conditions, and improve Medicare for 117,000 Louisvillians

(Washington, DC) 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.

Statement from Todd Lally, Republican Candidate for Congress, 3rd Congressional District of Kentucky 

The citizens of Louisville entrusted John Yarmuth with the honor of the greatest civilian service there is, representing the will of a community to its nation. Congressman Yarmuth has today breached that trust in the highest degree, putting his own ideological interests ahead of the people he swore to serve.

With his vote in support of this misguided health insurance bill, Yarmuth has voted for Medicare cuts, the loss of more healthcare jobs, increased premiums, individual mandates and the expansion of the IRS to enforce them, nearly a trillion dollars in new debt, and a massive increase in new regulations and bureaucracy. And he has done this in my name, as well as in yours. With his vote he has told the rest of our nation that We the People of Kentucky's 3rd district wanted this, and in so doing, he has misrepresented us. This violation of our trust cannot go unanswered. As our representative, John Yarmuth was charged with the responsibility to represent our will and interest to the nation at large. He had many months to convince us that his way was best, but he was unable to do so. His attempts to convince us have left most of us remembering only one thing that he said, that he does not know how we're going to pay for this bill. And with that failure, John Yarmuth was charged with the responsibility, the duty, to vote NO.

Last week, I took to the radio and asked the citizens of Louisville to stand up with me and demand that our Congressman live up to his responsibilities, and many hundreds did so. Those efforts were not in vain. When concerned citizens stand up, we get results. With every word you speak to a neighbor, we grow stronger. With every email you send to a friend, we gain ground. I only hope that Yarmuth's violation of the sacred trust of public office inspires many thousands more to action. I have committed to be a leader in this fight, and I welcome the support of anyone looking for integrity in Washington. As a military officer, I have already sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. I understand the honor of service, and I understand the duties that are bound to that honor. As your next Congressman, I will never vote for a bill riddled with back room deals and opposed by the people. 

A recent poll has shown that Congressman’s Yarmuth’s support has eroded over the past year.  This vote on Healthcare will define John Yarmuth’s re-election prospects.  His blatant disregard for the people of Louisville and Jefferson County will not be forgotten on November 2nd.

The following is a statement from Republican Congressional candidate Larry Hausman on tonight’s healthcare vote:

“I am very disappointed in the decision by Congress to pass this wasteful and ineffective healthcare package that brings the IRS closer to the people than their doctors. I will not only fight against this government expansion that is against the will of the people but will also continue to offer free market solutions to bring down the cost of medical care.”

Congressional candidate Jeff Reetz (R) reacts to the House Passage of ObamaCare

(Louisville) Jeff Reetz issued the following statements regarding the passage of Health Care “reform” in the House tonight:

“Today is a sad day for all Americans.  I am deeply concerned and upset that Congressman Yarmuth and his best friends in Washington, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, are not only ignoring our Constitution, but are also clearly not listening to the millions of Americans that are opposed to this massive expansion of government.”

“Like many Louisvillians, I am strongly opposed to this legislation and when elected this November, my first order of business will be to repeal this massive expansion of government.”

“I find it appalling that John Yarmuth and his colleagues are telling the American public that this is the largest middle class tax cut ever enacted.  A tax cut implies that the public would receive an increase in their take home pay, but instead this bill will force at least 46 percent of those families making less than $66,150 to pay an individual mandate tax.”

“If this bill included a tax cut then why on earth would the bill also provide for the addition of more than 16,000 new IRS employees?” 

“Despite President Obama’s pledge not to raise one tax for those making less than $250,000, this Health Care bill violates that pledge 12 times and raises more than $569 billion in new taxes.”

“As a small business owner, I am extremely disappointed in the actions of Congressman Yarmuth and his best friend Nancy Pelosi for insisting on the implementation of  more than $52 billion in new taxes on employers who cannot afford to pay “Government mandated minimum” employee health care, particularly when unemployment stands at 9.7%.  Once again Yarmuth isn’t putting Louisville first, he is putting the Government First!”

“I recognize that our Health Care system needs reform but we need to tackle this reform within the confines of our Constitution and utilizing the free market principles we hold so dear in this country.  Please visit my website at www.reetzforcongress.com for more information about my Health Care Plan. ”

Louisville Mayor candidate Shannon White (D)

Statement: White celebrates historic health care bill passage

(Louisville, Ky) – I want to commend the House of Representatives for taking bold action in passing the landmark bill late last night.  Every American & Louisvillian deserves access to health care.  I am proud to know that my children will be covered until they are 26, will not be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, and that my parents will not be lost in a doughnut hole of benefits. This bill will extend coverage to more than 30 million people nationally and hundreds of thousands locally helping those who need it the most.