Reaction to house passage of healthcare bill - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Reaction to house passage of healthcare bill

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - President Obama's sweeping bill on health care reform was narrowly voted through the House of Representatives Saturday night. It passed by five votes, 220 to 215; 218 votes were needed to pass. It would restrict insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing medical condition, and prevent them from charging higher premiums based on a person's gender or medical history.

We gathered reactions from people about this bill. Though we heard mostly positive responses in Iowa City, the bill still has plenty of opposition. One pediatrician we spoke with says it's a huge step for low-income families. "The sickest kids I've seen over the years are the ones who come from the working poor,” said Dr. Sten Vermund of Nashville, Tennessee. “Their parents make too much money for Medicaid, and don't make enough money to have the kind of job where they have insurance from their employer. So, I'm a big fan of this health care reform."

Others told us that even with a price tag of $1.2 trillion, too much time has been spent waiting to expand national health care. "Part of our problem with the economy is the amount of money being spent on health care,” said Tisch Jones. “So this, in the long run, will improve things.

However, lawmakers who oppose the bill say it will slash Medicare funding and increase costs for families. Some simply feel that the federal government has no place in health care. "It cannot be a government-run program, because every time the government gets its hands in it, there's so much money being spent on peoples' friends, and bureaucracy goes crazy," Jim Quilt told us. “Health care reform is an important thing. I don't like what democrats are doing with this bill, though, at all."

The Senate will have to pass its own version of the bill, which President Obama says he's confident will happen. After that, the House and Senate would merge their two proposals, and vote on a final version.

The following are responses from Iowa lawmakers on the bill’s passage:

Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) on House Passage of Health Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) issued the following statement after the U.S. House passed The Affordable Health Care for America Act by a vote of 220-215. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“The momentum toward health reform is only increasing in Congress. Reform is not only on the horizon, it’s well within our grasp.

“With the vote in the U.S. House, Americans are one step closer to quality, affordable health care that reins in rising costs that are stretching family budgets and crippling businesses. This legislation will greatly decrease the number of uninsured and it takes steps to change our “sick care” system to a genuine health care system by investing in prevention and wellness.

“I congratulate Speaker Pelosi and House leaders on this historic achievement and look forward to working in the Senate to get a final bill to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”


Braley Statement on House Passage of Health Care Reform

“The Affordable Health Care for America Act is good for Iowa's families, seniors and medical providers, and that's why I voted for the bill on the House floor.”

Washington, DC – Exactly three years after he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) voted today to pass the Affordable Health Care for America Act.  The legislation passed the House by a vote of 220-215.  Following the vote, Braley issued the following statement:

“As a member of the House Subcommittee on Health, I've had a front-row seat as health-care legislation has moved through the House this year. After reading the bill, listening to my constituents and debating the bill's provisions in Congress, I'm convinced this legislation is good for Iowa.

“One of my biggest priorities has been fighting to fix unfair and inefficient geographic differences, and reform the Medicare system to one that pays Iowa's medical professionals for the high-quality, low-cost health care they currently provide. Just yesterday this week, the American Medical Association released a study confirming these differences are not based on the actual cost of medical services provided.  I'm proud to say that the House bill will finally fix these inequities, move us to a better reimbursement model that emphasizes quality over quantity, and help recruit well-qualified health-care providers to Iowa - all because of changes I championed.

“In the 1st District alone, this legislation will improve Medicare for 102,000 beneficiaries, strengthen employer-based coverage for 394,000 residents and reduce the cost of uncompensated care for medical providers by $99 million.

“The Affordable Health Care for America Act will decrease health insurance costs, expand access to quality, affordable health care, improve reimbursements for Iowa medical providers and allow Americans to maintain their choice of health insurance. The Affordable Health Care for America Act is good for Iowa's families, seniors and medical providers, and that's why I voted for the bill on the House floor.”


WASHINGTON, DCIowa Congressman Tom Latham issued the following statement following the approval by the U.S. House of Representatives of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's $1.2 trillion health care legislation:

"There’s no question that health care costs too much in this country, but we can solve that problem without a $1.2 trillion government takeover of our health care system. The bill approved by the House of Representatives today will raise costs for a wide range of Iowans, smother job growth with costly mandates for small businesses and slash $500 billion from Medicare.  

The bill requires the Institute of Medicine to determine future Medicare reimbursement rates, but that arrangement lacks any guarantee that Iowa’s reimbursement rates, which are among the lowest in the country, will see any kind of improvement. However, the bill contains a provision that specifically raises Medicare reimbursement rates in 14 counties in California, which is the home state of Rep. Henry Waxman, one of the bill’s main authors.

I’ve proposed a number of common-sense reforms to rein in health care costs.  For instance, we can crack down on frivolous malpractice lawsuits and allow small businesses to pool together across state lines to negotiate for lower premiums.  I stand with the American people in their demand for health care reform that reduces costs, but a government takeover of health care is not the answer."

Online Reporter – Brady Smith


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