Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just in from Washington

Minnick Concerned Over Cost of Healthcare Reform

Washington--Health reform is still alive in the House again after conservative Democrats struck a deal with party leaders Wednesday that would lower costs and ease requirements on small businesses.

But Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, remains unsatisfied and, unless more changes are adopted, he plans to buck his party and vote against the bill this week in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"“I am disappointed by the actions announced today. Although I commend my colleagues for convincing leadership to push back to September a vote of the full House, I remain deeply concerned over many of the provisions in the House health care bill. My objections grow with each page of the bill I read. It would add billions to our deficit, which is already out of control, and does not do nearly enough to get better health care to places like rural Idaho."

His list of objections is similar to many Republican concerns. He said the proposal gives the federal government too much power and does too little to reform medical-malpractice claims.

“I spent three decades running everything from a small garden store to a multi-national forest products company. So I understand all too well how frustrated people are with the high cost of insurance. However, I ran for Congress in part because I was so frustrated with out-of-control spending and trillion-dollar deficits. We must get that under control, and that means reforming health care in a responsible, fiscally sound way.

Minnick is a member of the Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of fiscal conservatives who have threatened to team with Republicans to kill the proposal.

“Like most Americans and like the President, I believe that health care reform must reduce costs, rely on the private sector, prevent restrictions based on age or employment status or preconditions, and must ensure coverage for all Americans. However, this bill simply will not get us there.”

Seven Blue Dogs sit on the commerce committee and four agreed to Wednesday's deal, enough to secure passage out of the panel. A full House vote won't take place until September at the earliest.

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