Republicans Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have put their names forward to lead the way to rescind the bill that was signed into place by President Obama on Tuesday [March 23].
Some call it historic, a feat equal to the caliber of Medicaid, and still others will tell you – ah, not so much historic.
Business and political leaders across the state weighed in on this law whose passage ebbed near unto midnight in Washington, D.C., as debate raged on a weekend.
Even Democrat Rep. Walt Minnick, who was suffering from a cold, held his ground to be one of 37 to go against the party and vote “nay” on the health care reform bill.
Republican Rep. Mike Simpson, too, opposed it.
Minnick has been outspoken in his concerns of health care legislation since last November, and repeatedly the week prior to the House, vowed to stand by his district and not support the Democrat party’s revised bill. This bill (HR 3590) passed the House by a final vote of 219-212.
Minnick, in a prepared statement, said he used his best judgment to make a right decision for Idaho and his constituents.
“It was a difficult vote because, like all Idahoans, I truly do care about improving the health-insurance system, about reducing costs and about improving care,” he stated. “But I voted against this bill because it is critical to the long-term fiscal health of the country that we not get this wrong.”
Like Minnick – who had to vote against his own party – Simpson voted no for similar reasons.
“There is no doubt that this legislation will be challenged in court,” Simpson said.
“Beyond the question of its legality, this bill will ultimately damage the health care system in the United States while adding another 2 trillion to 3 trillion dollars to our national debt. At this time, I encourage all Idahoans to support Gov. Otter in his effort to challenge its constitutionality in court.”
The legal challenge to the bill was not far behind, in fact only hours apart, as Idaho senators put their support behind a new bill to overturn HR 3950.
“While many are marking this as a historic day, I am disappointed over the outcome of the debate over health care reform,” Crapo said. “This legislation was forced through Congress, with buy-offs and backroom deals for votes. There were false attempts at bipartisanship, and now Americans will be faced with an enormous increase in federal bureaucracy, which will likely not result in improved health care access and quality for most of them.”
Both Risch and Crapo joined with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, to co-sponsor repeal action.
This measure reflects two important points: the nation’s strong opposition to the government health care takeover, and Americans’ ongoing desire for innovative solutions that will allow every American the opportunity to afford, own and keep a health care plan that best meets their needs, not those of government bureaucrats, he said.
“Idahoans continue to call my offices by the hundreds with their strong concerns over how health care reform will affect them now as well as in generations to come,” Simpson said.
Associated Builders and Contractors President and CEO Kirk Pickerel on the House said in a release, “While many are calling this bill ‘historic,’ the only thing historic about the health care reform bill is the record level of new taxes and federal government mandates placed on America’s construction industry.”
Speaking out for the already economically crippled building industry, Pickerel said the new bill ignores the construction worker.
“Twenty-seven percent of the construction industry is currently unemployed, and it is truly unconscionable that our elected leaders think that now is the appropriate time for broad new government mandates and infringements on American businesses and a half trillion dollars in new taxes,” he said.
Susan Eckerly, senior vice president of the National Federation of Independent Business, concurred.
“Those who chose to vote ‘yes’ for this bill have chosen to ignore the protests of their job-creating constituents,” she said. “We couldn’t have been clearer how damaging this bill will be to America’s small businesses and the economic recovery of this country. America’s small businesses are outraged that so many members of Congress didn’t have the courage to stand up for them and vote against this job-killing health care bill.”
She went on to say that this bill is a tax bill wrapped up in health care paper, and drives costs even higher through insurance costs, taxes and doing business.
“Tonight’s ‘yes’ vote against small business leaves us asking: Who is really working for small business?” Eckerly said. “Make no mistake, small businesses won’t forget those who voted against small business. And they will make their voices heard when they vote in November.”
Simpson said H.R. 2607, the Small Business Healthcare Fairness Act, of which he was a co-sponsor, would have allowed small businesses to band together through associations to buy health care coverage. Large corporations and labor unions already leverage their size and buying power to secure lower premiums and rates when buying health insurance for their employees and members.
This bill would give America’s small businesses the same advantages to make health care coverage for their employees more affordable, he stated.