Posted at 10:57 PM on March 21, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2010, Campaign 2010: Minnesota Governor, Campaign 2010: U.S. House, MN Legislature, Tim Pawlenty, U.S. House, U.S. Senate
Minnesota's Congressional delegation, Gov. Pawlenty and others are weighing in today on the House passage of the health care overhaul bill. Here's how Minnesota's delegation voted.
Here are the written statements:
DFL Rep. Tim Walz:
"Middle class families in southern Minnesota want to visit their doctor and get the care they need without insurance company or government control. They want hassle free coverage they can count on and they want peace of mind knowing that if they get sick, they will not have to worry about insurance companies dropping them.
For the past three years, I have traveled around southern Minnesota hearing from folks about how we can improve our health care system. Those who have shared their stories with me are honest, hard working people. They do not want a handout or special treatment. They just want a fair deal. One of those folks is Sheila Wieser. When Sheila's son, Michael, got sick with a rare liver disease, she just wanted to be able to get him the care he needed to get well. Michael was kicked off his parents insurance when he graduated college and because he had a pre-existing condition, no insurance company would give him coverage. By the time Sheila was able to get Michael any help at all, his disease was too advanced and he died. No mother should ever have to experience that and if this legislation had been passed years ago, Michael might still be with us today.
I also voted for this legislation because it is the fiscally responsible thing to do. Since first coming to Congress, I have actively worked to find ways to reduce the skyrocketing, long-term federal debt. Let me be clear: We cannot tackle our debt without addressing the out of control cost of health care and we cannot rebuild a strong, vibrant economy while businesses are strangled financially and forced to choose between cutting salaries or health insurance for their employees. I cannot in good conscience pass on a skyrocketing debt and a broken health care system for our children and our grandchildren to deal with, they deserve better than kicking the can down the road for another day.
I am particularly proud of the pay for results provisions we fought for in this legislation. This is a patient-centered provision that is about using a market-based, business solution to provide high quality, low cost health care. Every single day, Mayo Clinic is an example of how health care should be practiced in this country and I was proud of our efforts to ensure that doctors are paid for the quality of care that you get and not just the number of treatments and procedures you go through.
This legislation is not perfect. I have often said health care reform is a journey, not a destination. As we move forward, I will work closely with doctors, nurses, hospital, employers, small businesses and southern Minnesotans to ensure that this legislation is implemented in a fair, common sense way."
GOP Rep. John Kline:
With these votes, Congress has failed its most fundamental responsibility of representing the American people. Citizens descended on the U.S. Capitol this weekend to implore their elected officials to reject this legislation - yet their voices were ignored. Governors are lining up to challenge the mandates that will be imposed on the citizens of their states - yet their pleas have gone unheard. Republicans and Democrats alike stood up to vote no - yet backroom deals and a thirst for government control won the day.
"Time and time again, Republicans called on the majority to scrap this government takeover of health care and student lending and embrace commonsense, bipartisan reforms. And each time, majority leadership rejected our offers and stubbornly insisted on their own partisan plan. Today will go down in history as a day when the balance of power shifted away from the people and their voices were silenced. The American people will not forget the way these votes were cast.
"Today's votes were a loss for the American people, but the battle is far from over. We must now begin working to undo the government takeover of health care and replace it with meaningful reforms that will finally bring down health care costs."
# # #
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen:
"Today, the House of Representatives narrowly approved a costly, partisan bill the American people have said loud and clear they do not want. My constituents, by a margin of over three-to-one, have said they do not like this plan -- and with good reason.
This bill represents a major expansion of the federal government's role in health care. It creates new entitlement spending of nearly $1 trillion, slashes over $500 billion from Medicare in order to spend it elsewhere, allows the IRS to impose new fines on Americans who don't purchase 'acceptable' coverage, fails to protect veterans' care and imposes a new $20 billion tax on life-saving medical technology innovations.
Amazingly, this bill also does not adequately address the fundamental problem of rising health care costs for individuals, families and small businesses. Instead, premiums are likely to continue rising under this plan, while new taxes and penalties will make it even harder for small businesses to create jobs. This is the exact wrong approach.
There is no question we can and should reform health care. But doing so with a massive government expansion that will burden future generations - all without fundamentally addressing the number one problem of rising costs - is both reckless and wrong. The American people need and deserve better."
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison:
"For me, this legislation represents progress toward universal health care for all Americans," Ellison stated. "Every landmark piece of legislation had a beginning. Women's rights did not end with the 19st Amendment; Civil Rights did not end with the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act; Social Security enacted in 1935, and Medicare in 1965, did not begin as we know them today. So too is it with this health care reform bill. It is a beginning - and an important one," Ellison said
"When 40,500 uninsured Fifth District residents have health care coverage - that is change. When 9,700 Fifth District residents with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage - that is change. When 57,000 Fifth District young adults can obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans - that is change. When insurance coverage for 358,000 Fifth District residents is improved - that is change, and when the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers is reduced by $101 million - that is positive change." the Congressman stated.
"I have long been an ardent advocate of the single payer health care system and a robust public option, however I wholeheartedly support this bill as a foundation. And when thirty-two million more Americans have health insurance it is a good beginning. At the same time, when $1.3 trillion in deficit spending (accumulated over the past eight years) is reduced, it is a good start."
"I look forward to enthusiastically casting my yes vote for this historic beginning in American health care," Ellison concluded. ###
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann:
"On August 13, 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote the following:
"'Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens, and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste. And I do verily believe, that if the principle were to prevail, of a common law being in force in the United States..., it would become the most corrupt government on the earth...What an augmentation of the field for jobbing, speculation, plundering, office-building, and office-hunting would be produced by an assumption of all the State powers into the hands of the General Government.'
"Poignant words, and as our federal government expands its grip over one-sixth of our nation's economy with the passing of this legislation, maybe now President Obama and Speaker Pelosi will finally take the time to find out what's in it.
"This past year, the President and Democratic leaders in Congress gathered in back rooms away from the American people and twisted arms to get just enough votes through deals and handouts to pass their legislation. They broke promises of open debate and transparency, and instead of working with Republicans and implementing common sense reforms that wouldn't break the bank, they went it alone and spent more money we just don't have.
"Future generations will pay the price for our government's arrogance and recklessness, and the American people won't ever forget the irresponsible actions of this Administration and Congress. After all, government answers to the people, not the other way around, and the fight for the soul of this nation continues on."
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar:
"I have evaluated the issues of health care for 35 years and very intensively for this past year as Congress has worked on the major reform legislation. The fine points of this health care bill have now been defined, and in my judgment, the balance of benefits are in favor of this bill. That will benefit the people of the 8th congressional district and the American people.
This bill will assure that no one's current health care can be dropped. No one will be forced out of their health care they now hold. No one will be denied because of a previously existing condition. No one can have their health insurance dropped because of lifetime caps or be denied when they need their health insurance the most. People will be able to retain health insurance if they change jobs.
For seniors, the legislation closes the doughnut hole that has existed for five years, which will save seniors thousands of dollars in prescription drug costs. Young adults will be able to stay on their parents' policy until age 26.
This bill represents a massive step forward in quality health care for the people of the 8th congressional district. Included in this legislation is a major improvement in the Medicare reimbursement formula. The longstanding geographic disparity in Medicare has severely disadvantaged Northland health care providers, and the reimbursement gap will be closed as we move toward payment parity with the rest of the country.
Regarding the lingering issue of abortion, I am confident that abortion will not be funded in this legislation. Current law dating back to October 1979 (Public Law 96-86) has contained a federal prohibition on the use of federal funds for abortion in community health centers. Conscious clause protections that have existed in the past will remain in effect and in the future, and the legislation prohibits the use of federal tax credits and cost-sharing assistance to pay for abortion."
Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty:
"Democrats rejected needed, common sense reforms in favor of an overreaching, extraordinarily expensive, government-centric plan that gives more and more control to an already bloated and bankrupt federal government."DFL state Rep. Tom Huntley:
"The passage of federal health care reform is not just an historic step forAmericans everywhere, it also has monumental consequences for the state of Minnesota."
"Iam proud to stand with the more than 1,000 other state legislators from around our
great nation who worked together over the past year to support health care reform. State legislators have long been on the front lines of the battle for better, more accessible, and more affordable health care for their constituents, and our leadership was critical to making this victory for American families possible."
Pawlenty's response is pathetic. That's what he can drum up in response?
I highly, highly recommend a trip over to FrumForum to read his biting analysis of how this will not serve the GOP, including Klien, Bachmann and Pawlenty well (he doesn't name them, but these lame responses fit his analysis well).
For those who don't know, David Frum is a conservative who wrote speeches for G.W. Bush, wrote for the National Review, and is a resident fellow at the American enterprise Institute. His commentaries on MPR's MarketPlace regularly infuriate me in their freemarketness.
But he is a realist conservative when it comes to politics. Read his "Waterloo" post. Worth 5 minutes!
This country needs health care reform,but our federal government is corrupt and the last thing that we need to do is put health care in the lap of corruption to try to fix it. I voted for Tim Waltz and campaigned for him. I have made a new resolution for the next election that I will nock on a 1000 doors to campaign against him.
Washington needs a flush of both parties. Vote all of them out.
Citizen's comments are right on the money. I will personally contribute my time and money to vote out ALL incumbents. But good luck in Minnesota.....I believe that you are the state that elected Al Franken to the senate.....how bad can you get?.
Oberstar has abandoned the rights of the unborn. When the most pro abortion president says he will sign an executive order prohibiting the use of federal funds, that same president can come back a year later and sign it again saying that it is now ok. If this is such a great bill how come we have to wait 4 years before it kicks in. What are the 32 million people supposed to do in the meantime.
It is just like the federal government and Jim Oberstar, they both are a bunch of liars and full of S#!+. Vote him out if you believe in the unborn, Cravaack for Congress
Finally, the Democrats have shown some backbone. The Republicans had no intention of ever letting ANY health care bill pass. While this is a deeply flawed bill, it is better than no action. Now that we've shown that some reform can pass, the flaws in this bill can be fixed in later bills.
I am a cancer survivor, and have 2 children with ongoing health needs caused by a terrible accident. No insurance company would have touched us before this bill. I have seriously considered closing my small business and going to work for a large company just to get affordable health insurance. No one should have to make that choice. Hopefully, I won't now, either
Unbelievable. Despite public opinion polls that show widespread agreement that this bill is a very bad idea, our elected "leaders" went ahead and approved it anyway. Here's to a changing of the guard in the House & Senate in 2010, and in the White House in 2012.
Regardless of any politicians opinions of the legislation before it was approved, it is now approved.
The next step is for our elected legislators to inform their constituents what we need to do to comply with the opportunities and responsiblities contained in this legislation.
The state will have great opportunities to craft the exchanges.
My request is for MPR to ask the eight Minnesota Representatives and two Senators about their plans for constituents outreach. There should be no difference if the outreach comes from Kline/Paulsen/Bachmann/Peterson or Ellison/Oberstar/McCollum/Walz.
It will be irresponsible for Kline/Paulsen/Bachmann/Peterson not to tell their constituents how they are affected. I suspect that they or the Ramsey/Kennedy sent mailings, etc. when Prescription Drug Medicare D was approved.