Health Care Showdown: House passes health care bill - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Health Care Showdown: House passes health care bill

WASHINGTON (KTRE) - The historic vote on health care reform is now in the history books with the bill passing on a vote of 219 to 212. 

In an address to the nation Sunday after the bill's passage, the President said, "We rose above the weight of our politics."  He went on to say Sunday's vote proved "we are still a people capable of doing big things."  He thanked supporters of health care for their courage and conviction in making health care reform a reality. 

President Obama again acknowledged the vote wasn't an easy vote but said it was "the right vote."  He said Sunday's vote answers the dream of so many.  The bill now heads to President Obama's desk for his signature, possibly as early as Tuesday. 

No Republican voted "yes" for the bill. Thirty-four Democrats voted against it.

U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 3590:

 "Speaker Pelosi and the Majority, after weeks of arm twisting and backroom deals, forced through a vote on a sweeping government takeover of health care on the House floor last night that threatens to bankrupt the country. Again, they have blatantly ignored the voices of struggling Americans that truly desire reform with quality, affordable access to health care. Instead, they have made an unprecedented power grab that forces millions of individuals off their private insurance, while forcing millions more into unemployment.

This bill institutionalizes the "Washington knows best" mentality in our economy and tells Americans that they and their doctors cannot be trusted to make their own health care decisions.  The bill also provides funding for abortion, slashes 500 billion dollars in Medicare funding that will significantly hurt our seniors, wrongfully penalizes employers and small businesses with hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases, and adds nearly 17,000 new IRS agents to monitor and harass Americans on a monthly basis.  Once the government controls, rations, and pays for healthcare, it will then have the right to monitor the lives and businesses of all Americans.

The term "reconciliation" is such a mockingly sad misnomer. Ironically, the Senate took H.R. 3590, entitled the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009, and stripped out every word and inserted their own health care bill while forgetting to mention anything about health care for veterans or their survivors. Now, the House majority will force through a package of supposed fixes to the health care takeover that leaves the sweetheart deals in place and further increases taxes on Americans. Then the Senate will pass the "fixes" that actually raise health care costs on a party line vote with a procedure intended for passing deficit-reduction measures.

Despite the disappointing result late yesterday evening in the House of Representatives, I will continue to fight to preserve liberty and free enterprise in Washington, D.C. Having heard from so many passionate Americans, we must continue to fight to prevent Washington from taking over any more of the American economy."   

Following the passage of the health care legislation, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott provided the following statement:

"The federal health care legislation passed tonight violates the United States Constitution and unconstitutionally infringes upon Texans' individual liberties. To protect all Texans' constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation's founders, and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government, the State of Texas and other states will legally challenge the federal health care legislation."

In other action by the House, a motion to recommit and send the bill back failed. 

House members also passed a reconciliation bill that includes so called "House fixes to the Senate bill," 220 to 211.  The reconciliation bill now goes to the Senate for debate on Tuesday.

Democratic Representative holdout to the proposed health care bill Bart Stupak of Michigan announced Sunday afternoon that he had reached an agreement with the President and House Speaker that preserves the sanctity of life.

He says an executive order assuring that no public funding for abortion will be included in this legislation was the determining factor in changing his vote to "yes."

Some political observers said that deal on language almost assured passage of health care reform.  

Analysts are calling this the most sweeping reform bill since medicare in 1965.

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst Sunday night released the following statement:

"Today's action by Congress is a slap in the face to the clear majority of Texans, and Americans, who demand real health care reform resulting from an open and transparent process and that truly fixes a broken system. Instead, this federal plan costs Texas taxpayers $2.4 billion per year and could force the state to redirect spending away from priority items such as education, public safety and road construction, just to cover the unfunded, unaffordable mandates in this bill. I will continue to fight for affordable, accessible health care that does not increase costs or taxes on hard working Texas families and truly improves the quality of care."

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Cathie Adams released the following statement Sunday night:

"This evening, following a series of backroom deals and arm twisting, President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi convinced their members to support a $2.5 trillion dollar government-run health care bill that increases taxes, raises premiums, slashes Medicare and does nothing to control the cost of healthcare.  This bill does nothing to help Texans struggling with rising insurance premiums, but instead is loaded with sweetheart deals and kickbacks for special interests, which seems to be just business as usual in Nancy Pelosi's Democratic Congress. This bill saddles Texans with over $24 billion in new spending over the next ten years, spending which the Democrats in Washington are mandating but will not cover and which Texas cannot afford.  This bill creates a new army of over 16,000 IRS agents to enforce its onerous new taxes and Democrat-imposed mandates.  This bill is not reform.

"Unfortunately for all Texans, our Democratic representatives in Congress ignored the consistent pleas of their constituents, asking them not to vote for such a reckless piece of legislation, and instead chose to stand with their party bosses in Washington.  Make no doubt about it, come November the people of Texas will come to the ballot box in droves to vote for Republican candidates who will listen to them and focus on creating an environment that promotes jobs in the Lone Star State – not a government takeover of their healthcare.

To those Obama-Reid-Pelosi Democrats in Texas, today we send a message: In November, Texans will remember.  It's time to fire Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and the surest way to do that is to vote Republican in November."  

Speaking on Capitol Hill in an address to the Democratic Caucus , the President outlined four reasons this health care reform legislation should pass.  He said it's "a patients bill of rights on steroid," putting into place a system that works for the people.

President Obama said health care reform creates a marketplace for people to have a choice and competition.  He cited a finding by the Congressional Budget Office that said the bill would lower comparable health care plan rates by 14-20%.  The bill would provide tax credits for those who cannot afford health care.  And would decrease the deficit by over 1.3 trillion dollars over 20 years. It will be the biggest reduction in the deficit since 1993.

The President said the bill is not perfect and will not solve every issue with heath care.  But feels it's the single most important step taken in health care since medicare.  He said he believed "good policy is good politics."  At least 216 votes were needed to pass this legislation.

Some Republican leaders predict that the passage of the health care bill will result in political fallout and significant losses for both the House and Senate during the November general elections.

Read the bill (H.R. 4872-Reconciliation Act of 2010):

http://www.rules.house.gov/bills_details.aspx?NewsID=4606

The bill goes to the Senate, possibly as early as Tuesday.  Keep up with the health care bill debate here at KTRE.com and on KTRE's East Texas News.  We also want to hear from you.  Leave your comments in the section below, on Facebook and Twitter.

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