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Nov-08-2009 02:55printcomments

Republicans Fail to Defeat Obama's Healthcare Plan in Congress

The plan to reel in insurance practices and provide healthcare to all Americans now goes to the Senate for approval.

President Obama reacting to the passage of the House Bill while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stands in the background.
President Obama reacting to the passage of the House Bill while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stands in the background.

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - The House of Representatives voted to pass their health insurance reform bill Saturday evening at 11:15 p.m. Despite countless attempts over nearly a century, no chamber of Congress has ever before passed comprehensive health reform. It is an historic event.

Healthcare passes Congress

The bill would expand coverage to most Americans and stop insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The bill passed by a narrow vote of 220-215.

Oregon's five Congressional members voted along party lines. The state's four Democrats stood with the new $1.2 trillion Healthcare policy, while Oregon Republican Greg Walden voted against the plan.

Only one Republican voted for the bill, that was Representative Joseph Cao of Louisiana. 39 Democrats opposed the package, but that wasn't enough dissent to halt the success of the bill that their party and the Obama administration worked very hard to pass, even in spite of the lack of support.

Who is the real opposition to the Healthcare reform agenda?

Obama said, "The final Senate bill hasn't even been released yet, but the insurance companies are already pressing hard for a filibuster to bury it."

Along with an extension of unemployment insurance for out-of-work Americans by up to 20 weeks, this legislation includes an expansion of the Homebuyer Tax Credit.

Obama says the vote brought Americans closer to secure, affordable care, but he stresses that it was also a watershed moment in how change is made.

"Even after last year's election, many insider lobbyists and partisan operatives really thought that the old formula of scare tactics, D.C. back-scratching and special-interest money would still be enough to block any idea they didn't like. Now, they're desperate. Because, tonight, you made it crystal clear: the old rules are changing -- and the people will not be ignored."

The President says power never concedes without a fight, adding that it is especially true today.

"But that's okay -- we're not afraid of a fight. And as you continue to prove, when all of us work together, we have what it takes to win."

Healthcare protest Thursday in Washington D.C. Salem-News.com
photos by Ken Potter.

Some Republicans, intent on seeing the defeat of the healthcare proposal, went to great efforts to discredit the plan while disillusioning its supporters.

Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona and former Presidential Candidate, said, "I am very troubled by the potential cost of the President's outlined plans. I know that you are very concerned with the national debt and a projected $9 trillion deficit. The prospective cost of the President's plan could reach $2 trillion, and frankly, our country simply cannot afford this price tag."

McCain outwardly supported the invasion of Iraq and the ensuing war that has continued for over six years, claiming the lives of several thousand Americans while severely injuring over 50,000, and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens.

Many critics say the notion of supporting Middle East war and occupation by ill equipped and often defenseless forces, but not helping Americans at home, is a glaring example of why McCain and the other Republicans have lost so much credibility, and so many political offices, in recent years.

Republican Michele Bachman of Minnesota, one of the most outspoken foes of the proposal that would bring control to the ruthless tactics of insurance companies, stated that it, "Sounds good, but once you peel away the 'feel good' rhetoric, there’s nothing to be excited about."

Bachman says the bill includes a "job-killing employer mandate".

She describes this as, "an individual mandate that requires Washington bureaucrats to define what kind of coverage is acceptable, burdensome tax increases, Medicare cuts, and a huge expansion of Medicaid that will break already strained state budgets."

According to reformplans.com, an 'employer mandate' as it is properly termed, "usually refers to a state or federal measure requiring that large employers provide health insurance benefits to their employees."

Interestingly, Wal-Mart is one of the few large-scale American companies that has backed the "employer mandate" idea.

President Obama's reaction to House passage of the bill

Along with GOP members like Bachman, groups like Heritage Foundation, republicanleader.house.gov and rightwingnews.com, seem to be leading the way in use of the term, "job-killing employer mandate".

The phrase is misleading, and perhaps little more than a campaign slogan for big corporate business fighting the idea that they might have to provide realistic insurance benefits to their hard working employees. This is an age old battle between big money interests and the sweat of hard working American citizens.

It is noteworthy that most of the Republican accusations against Obama's Healthcare Bill have been proven to be false by the fact checking agencies such as Snopes.

Shortly after the House of Representatives concluded their vote on health insurance reform, President Obama released the following statement:

"Tonight, in an historic vote, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would finally make real the promise of quality, affordable health care for the American people."

"The Affordable Health Care for America Act is a piece of legislation that will provide stability and security for Americans who have insurance; quality affordable options for those who don’t; and bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses, and the government while strengthening the financial health of Medicare. And it is legislation that is fully paid for and will reduce our long-term federal deficit."

"Thanks to the hard work of the House, we are just two steps away from achieving health insurance reform in America. Now the United States Senate must follow suit and pass its version of the legislation. I am absolutely confident it will, and I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year."

I in no way see him to be without flaws, but in this case Obama is doing something that is vital to the future of this nation. Too many people, regardless of their individual circumstances, are in need of help.

The way the insurance industry as a whole has treated the people of this great nation is truly shameful.

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Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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America private jet service December 1, 2009 9:28 pm (Pacific time)

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Ersun Warncke November 8, 2009 8:07 pm (Pacific time)

Loren, you have it exactly right.  There is nowhere to turn for help, and the sooner people realize that, the better off they will be.  Blame, blame, blame is the name of the game for a lot of people.  The reality is that we are facing a serious and permanent decline in our standard of living (measured in tonnage of the SUV, square footage of the house, and pile of electronic junk in the garage), and people don't want to face that.  The other reality is that there are a lot of people who don't have any farther down to go.  That means the people who can take the cut will be the people who get the cut.  That is tough to adjust to.  It is tough to give up on the dreams of getting rich and living like a millionaire that a lot of people have in this country.  But that isn't reality.  People who hang onto that fantasy are in a serious state of shock/denial.  What remains of the "middle class" can bitch all day, but that won't change a thing.  They made their bed with reckless spending, disregard for public policy, and placing their trust in politicians who only told them what they wanted to hear.  Now they have to sleep in it.  The interesting thing is that these people have no conception of how much farther they can fall if they don't start acting reasonably.  They could be living in Mexico or Colombia with their children getting kidnapped and ransomed on a daily basis and with low level civil wars raging outside of their gated communities.  They could be in the Soviet Union (good example for our situation) having the critical infrastructure torn up and sold for scrap.  I see somebody saying that they are going to work less, and get subsidized health care, while in the same breath spewing all kinds of nonsense about the evils of the Federal government.  You will take Federal money, but you lack the courage of your convictions to risk jail and stop paying taxes, thus making yourself directly responsible for these Federal crimes you decry?  Doesn't the Federal Government's support of Israel keep the oil flowing here?  Keep the whole middle east under our thumb, and maintain control of the Suez canal?  If you support something with your actions, or lack there of, do your words even matter?  Torture?  How is torture worse than the conduct of any war period?  It isn't, which is why people who are out front war mongers have no problem with torture.  It would be totally illogical to support war and oppose torture.  Every American has gotten a taste of the profits of war.  That taste is what bought our silence and acquiescence.  It also buys culpability, which is a bummer, but you should get used to it, because the sweet fruit is gone, and now we are just eating the rotten core.


Scott November 8, 2009 3:17 pm (Pacific time)

Recently my government provided health care plan made it twice as difficult for me to get a routine dental examination. As a result local dentists have seen their business from gov't patients drop by nearly half. Is it because we don't need routine dental exams? more likely it's because paperwork messes and hurdles discourage patients from trying. I hope the Senate kills this mammoth, unread, uknown bill in it's tracks.


Loren November 8, 2009 6:20 pm (Pacific time)

Stephen do you have any evidence, besides gossip and innuendo, where are military is getting a cut in the poppy harvests to finance covert operations? I also saw that you stated you were going to reduce your income so you would be "making under 44K will give us government subsidies for the health care." Stephen I am a small business owner and I work pretty hard to keep things in the black so I can provide for my family and the few employees I have, so they can provide for their families. It appears you want me to subsidize you, even though you admit that you can earn a greater income to pay your own way. There are many people out there who have been gaming the system for years, and actually generations of gamers exist as children learn from their parent(s) how to game the system. No thanks Stephen, for there is that proverbial straw where all businesses get to, whether large corporations or small outfits like mine, where we just can't afford taking care of able-bodied people. We currently have a 10.2% national unemployment rate, but when totaling those who have quit looking for work and those in part time jobs, we probably, as per the media, have close to one out of six potential workers on the dole. We are going broke, and more and more people are streaming across our borders looking for work along with other benefits. So if I close down and quit paying taxes and fees, whose going to subsidize me Stephen? P.S. I am also a disabled vet, but that's another situation.


stephen November 8, 2009 4:10 pm (Pacific time)

Anon. Sundays seem to be my day to reflect. How about a flashback song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDaM9AHAqkY


stephen November 8, 2009 3:24 pm (Pacific time)

Lyle, I thought your post was good. Winder, we all want better health care, but if you were to actually read the 2000 pages, you might not be so happy. Anon.. great points, but I did not understand your reference to me.. If I read it right, seems like we are on the same page? My point is, I will keep working hard, but not to pay for Pelosi's private jet. I will grow food and take it to the food banks. etc. I will not support a system that is going to make my children slaves. Love them too much for that. I will not support the leaders of the military that gives orders to soldiers to guard opium fields to finance their covert operations. I will not support torture, nor the billions given to Israel which violates international law. I will not support a government run health care system. But if they FORCE it upon me, then I will find ways around it that does not fine me or imprison me. I dont look good in stripes. :-)


Anonymous November 8, 2009 1:28 pm (Pacific time)

Stephen your plan is what pursuing life, liberty and happiness is all about. But Steve how about if everyone felt as you and only put in enough effort to get by? For example those high achievers who go on to graduate school, including medical and dental schools, decide that any extra effort beyond maintaining a low tax exposure isn't worth it. Of course we could brainstorm all kinds of scenarios that would cycle us in a downward direction but probably the worst scenario would be if no one ever wanted to join the military and then our elected leaders nixed the draft. Well what would we eventually have left to protect ourselves with besides nukes? One could say that we will always have people around to go into the military, but what if everyone just said I want to only concern myself with me and my family and close friends? Talk to some veterans and get their average opinion on government run health care. The fact is Steve, people motivate themselves for many reasons, and profit-making is high on that list. Even this site here must show profit to continue. Do we redo an entire health care system where 85% or more are happy with it? When you see all the car insurance commercials do you know they wouldn't be showing them unless they were producing results? If we allow private health insurance companies to do the same and allow us to have hundreds of them in competition bidding for our dollars, then prices will come down. We have laws against collusion on the books already. But back to you, I'm glad you have it figured out, but have you figured out where all the new doctors, staff and medical equipment are going to come from...and how long it will take to get those logistical needs online to handle the millions? Private insurance companies cannot compete against the government, an entity that needs no profit, but when private companie have real open competition, they will innovate. Capitalism and the free market system is the only way. It's been government regulations both federal and state levels, that have hampered private competition. You just cannot point to where the government can run a business well, even the military is full of government caused problems.


Expose' November 8, 2009 11:18 am (Pacific time)

As the above article reflects, it was a bi-partisan effort to defeat this bill. With 39 democrats joining Republicans to vote down this doomed bill, it was hardly a defeat nor a clear victory for the jackass party. With just one Republican crossing over, an individual who won the seat fron convicted felon Willian Jefferson, this vote has not diluted the collective force of conservatives who shall even get stronger. The writer of this article had to pull up McCain to attempt making some weak point about the attack on Iraq, an attack that the majority of democrats voted for and still vote for funding. Of course if you cannot think critically you will have simply failed to uphold your resposibility as a voter by assuring that you are informed. Don't let the barkers fool you, they are easy to spot, and smell. They are an absolute threat to our country's very existence. Remeber: Sarah Palin is One Strong Woman: Attack Her, and You're Attacking America. Conservatism is on the ascendancy, folks. Don't buy the media spin on Gov. Palin.


stephen November 8, 2009 9:04 am (Pacific time)

The wife and I make about 50-60K yearly. When this health care kicks in, we have decided to work less, and keep our annual income below 44K. Not only will we be paying much less in taxes, but making under 44K will give us government subsidies for the health care. From my research our yearly spending money will only drop slightly. No big screen tv's or new cars maybe, but alot more time on our hands to hang out with the kids, which is well worth the trade off. I wonder how many other people/businesses have this same thought process?


Lyle Hoppe November 8, 2009 8:44 am (Pacific time)

"Many critics say the notion of supporting Middle East war and occupation by ill equipped and often defenseless forces, but not helping Americans at home, is a glaring example of why McCain and the other Republicans have lost so much credibility, and so many political offices, in recent years." It appears that the voters in Virginia, New Jersey and the majority of smaller local elections all over the country this past 11/4 have a different view. It is very unlikely this bill, after the senate overhaul, will even remotely look like the House bill if it even passes. The only way it will pass in the senate is if Reid pursues the nuclear option. If that occurs, then expect the legislative process of checks and balances to be changed forever, and when power changes, and it always does, many will be unhappy if Reid does this. We all want people to be able to get health care services, but this house bill has so many unintended consequences it cannot pass in the normal way legislation is done. As time plays out more will be exposed and many of you will be quite shocked at how your personal freedoms will be stripped away. This is not about providing health care. The deliberative process is what makes representative government such an ideal form of democracy. When that process is blunted, we have the beginnings of a totalitarian power structure. I encourage all to keep an open mind as info becomes available. I like to believe all elected officals and most Americans want what is best for our nation, but when people intentionally misinform plus demonize those who debate the issues, then ask yourself what are they hiding? What is their endgame agenda?


Winder November 8, 2009 3:24 am (Pacific time)

Whew, that vote was close. I can't believe there are 39 "democratic" congressmen so corrupted that they cannot vote for the American people to have this long-deserved, desperately fought-for right to health care. I am pleased to see that Oregon's Democratic Representatives were not among the defectors to side with big business concerns and insurance conglomerates over the common folk. This was the true "referendum", not those pathetic gubernatorial races in conservative strongholds. Now, what are the odds on the Senate following suit? Great coverage, Tim!

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