augusta free press news

House passes health-care reform

Story by Chris Graham

The House of Representatives voted Sunday night to pass a health-care reform bill mirroring legislation that had passed the Senate in December. Democrats were able to muster a 219-212 majority to pass the legislation, which will extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, expand prescription drug coverage under Medicare, increase federal subsidies to help people buy insurance and ban denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Fifth District Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello voted in favor of the legislation after publicly wavering on the issue in recent weeks.

“At the end of the day, this decision for me came down to whether working families would see savings at the kitchen table. They will. I asked whether seniors will see the Medicare Trust Fund extended and the cost of prescription drugs drop. They will. As I have heard from our major hospitals that endorsed the bill, this legislation will improve health care and bring down costs for Virginians,” Perriello said in a statement.

Perriello had said late last week that he would only vote for the bill if there was written assurance from a majority of the Senate that they would follow through on changes in the legislation including removal of items like the Cornhusker Kickback that had been inserted to gain the support of key Democrats in the Senate in the fall.

“For more than a century, our leaders have promised affordable universal health care to all Americans. Today we delivered that result in a way that our local hospitals say will improve quality and reduce costs for patients,” Perriello said. “Middle-class families will save $1,000 to $2,000 per year, and small business owners will see the cost of covering their workers drop. This bill will help our rural hospitals and clinics keep their doors open, improve health care for over 400,000 local residents, reduce the federal deficit, and provide coverage to 48,000 more individuals in the Fifth District alone – more than the population of Danville.”

Sixth District Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte voted against the bill, which passed without a single Republican vote.

“With complete and total disregard for the will of the American people, House Democrats pushed through their health care legislation, which is defined by federal regulations, mandates, a myriad of new big government programs, and a significant increase in federal spending and debt at a cost to our country too high to bear. This legislation, which I voted against, gives Washington bureaucrats ultimate control over what is best for you and your family – deciding when and what treatment you can receive,” Goodlatte said in a statement.

augusta free press
augusta free press