LA

Local Politicians Sound Off On Health Care

May 23, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

(The following article by Paresh Dave comes courtesy of Neon Tommy, the voice of Annenberg Digital News.)

Since the health care vote, local congressional members are focusing on the fact that history was made in the House of Representatives Sunday night.

But while the Democrats are taking honor in being part of major health care reform, the local Republican delegation is deriding the bill's passage, saying history will see the day less optimistically.

South Orange County Representative John Campbell (R-48th) said March 21, 2010 is a day that will be remembered infamously in American history.

"It is the day that the will of the American people and the founding tenets of the United States of America were subverted," he said. "It is a day when congressional Democrats and the president of the United States sent a message to future generations that they are willing to sacrifice the well-being of 270 million Americans in order to provide a new entitlement to 30 million Americans."

In an editorial in the Orange County Register, he expressed worry about added costs for the state as it deals with its budget crisis.

Toby Douglas, who manages California's Medicaid program, told BusinessWeek that the health care overhaul will cost the state nearly $3 billion more annually.

Rep. Howard McKeon (R-25th) said it was unfortunate that Democrats did not work to craft bipartisan legislation.

"While Democrats may have ignored Americans with this vote, Americans will not forget what happened in Washington, D.C. this weekend," he said.

He urged public support as Republicans attempt to repeal the changes made by the health care bill.

Speaking on the House Floor before the vote, Kevin McCarthy (R-22nd), chief deputy minority whip, said the bill demonstrates Democratic arrogance.

"The logic here is that Washington knows better than people, all of this at that Washington is borrowing 43 cents for every dollar it spends," he said.

Foothills Representative David Dreier (R-26th) said the entire voting process was tainted.

"It's not too late for us to work together in bipartisan way to achieve real healthcare reform that will bring down costs and not break the bank, and to do it with the transparency and accountability that was promised," he said last week.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-46th) called the legislative process and the legislation "odious."

"The process put forth by the Democrats has made a mockery of all the pledges by the President of bipartisanship and transparency," he said. "I don't know of any other legislation as consequential as this passed with such a partisan sledgehammer."

Rep. Gary Miller (R-42nd) said he voted against the bill because 80 percent of his constituents opposed a government-run health care system.

"The bill is a dramatic step away from personal, private coverage and choice, to a Washington-controlled healthcare system that rations care, limits choice, and reduces quality, innovation and competition," Miller said.
On the Democratic side, Brad Sherman (27th), Howard Berman (28th), Adam Schiff (29th), Lucille Roybal-Allard (34th), Jane Harman (36th), Laura Richardson (37th) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (30th) voted for the reform and reconciliation bills.

According to a release from his office, the district of Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-31st), who also voted for the bill, has the second highest rate of uninsured residents in the country. In his district, the bill will improve coverage for more than 200,000 residents and guarantee that 30,700 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

"This legislation will mean affordability for the middle-class and security for our seniors," Becerra said.

More than 1,000 families in the 31st district would be protected from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

Rep. Diane Watson (D-33rd) said the vote was the most important she has ever cast.

"This historic legislation will put you and your doctor back in charge of your health care choices by holding insurance companies accountable and stopping their worst practices - like denying you coverage because of a pre-existing condition, dropping your coverage when you get sick, or arbitrarily hiking up your premiums," Watson said.

Freshman Rep. Judy Chu (D-32nd) also applauded passage of the heath care reform measures.

"Like all bills, this one is not perfect," Chu said. "I still believe that a public option would have been the best mechanism to ensure lower premiums and access to all Americans. I am disappointed at the onerous restrictions against immigrants purchasing insurance, and at the roadblocks contained in the bill that hamper women's access to the full reproductive rights guaranteed to them under the law."

However, Chu added, "We are just a few steps away from changing our health care system for the better and ensuring that America treats its people with the respect."

Several lawmakers including Richardson, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-38th) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-35th) said they would have preferred a public option, but supported the legislation anyway because it was a step in the right direction.

"Improving our health care system is essential to setting us on the right path to healthier lives, renewed American innovation, and a stronger, more stable American economy," Waters said.

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-39th) said it's easy to find an imperfection in every bill Congress passes.

"On balance, this bill does what I came to Washington to do: to give a voice to average working people, whose voices are too often drowned out by the voices of moneyed interests," said Sanchez.