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Idaho’s congressmen stand against health care vote

Idaho’s senators have joined the fray to repeal the new health care bill.

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.

About Robb Hicken


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  3. Mister Knowledge

    Thank you Small business owner for the subtle and nuanced analysis of the health care debate. I actually have worked my entire life, work now, and do quite well. I also don’t mind paying more in taxes if it means slowing down the rate of growth of health care expenditures, keeping people from going bankrupt because they’ve gotten sick, or keeping insurance companies from denying people coverage for pre-existing conditions.

    You didn’t respond to a single point of my earlier post.

    Rah rah, we’re number 1, no one can touch us, we have the “greatest healthcare system in the world” (contrary to all the statistics), we are the greatest country in the world. This is thought?

  4. Your journalism skills suck. Try keeping you opinion out and being a little unbiased for once. You and people like you are the reason the world of journalism is in such a tumultuous state.

  5. Small business owner

    Obviously the three posters before me haven’t a clue!! They are most likely on the government handout program already (welfare, foodstamps, or cheese, ect). Of course if you are not liable to pay it back – you want all the free stuff you can get!! The only people this Health care program helps are the ones to lazy or to stupid to take care of themselves!! Here is a piece of advice from me to you…

    We live in the greatest country in the world! Anyone, regardless of your background, race, religion, sex, you name it, can do and become anything you want to be. If you dont like your current situation CHANGE IT!! YOU are responsable for you – Not government, not your parents, YOU!!! Fix your own problems leave mine to me.

  6. Mister Knowledge

    Sorry, I’ll take the word of the AMA and AARP that this bill makes sense. Our health care system is going into a ditch. If nothing is done to stop rampant out of control costs then health care will be 25% of our GDP quite soon, far in excess of what any industrialized country spends on health care (and money that could be better invested elsewhere). People with plans they like or no health problems to worry about don’t understand that there’s a problem because they are happy with what they have. The reason for the mandate to purchase insurance is because we all subsidize those who decide not to get insurance and then later have health problems that have to be treated at the emergency room. So, republicans, unless you pull off a legislative miracle in the Senate (or a wonder in the Supreme Court, which is unlikely according to most legal scholars, including conservative ones), you’ve officially been punked. You did nothing to contribute to the bill’s success and will get none of the credit. If you’ve got a problems with insurers not being able to rescind coverage for pre-existing conditions, or closing the donut hole, or allowing kids to remain on their parents’ plans even into adulthood, fire away, because once people realize the benefits of the plan (as opposed to the baseless, fear mongering myths the right has peddled about the plan) your stay in the political wilderness will be extended. These kinds of things happen when a party lets its instinctive dislike of a president cloud its political judgment.

  7. Once again, Idaho’s congressional delagation does our state proud by placing another feather in the cap of national notoriety – along with the Aryan Nations, Ruby Ridge, Larry Craig, and wild-eyed Baptists stealing babies in Haiti…oh..can’t forget BUTCH.

    Congratulations for voting against common sense, and furthing the momentum to make the United States completely ungovernable and on the verge of a complete civil meltdown of epic proportion.

  8. It appears that Idaho has been let down again by it’s elected officials! It may be in our best interest to “Repeal” these individuals. Just my two cents worth, as a small business owner. Our state is wasting taxpayer money in filing suit. Maybe I should do the same, and sue the state?