Live Blog: Health Care Reform Bill Debate Begins
2:00 p.m. EST — Rep. Steny Hoyer making the expected acknowledgment of the historic nature of this debate and following vote. Recognizes the urgency of reform to Americans, “our families, our neighbors.” Wants to say to middle-class families, backbone of country, “you will have coverage you can depend upon.”
“This is the kind of tax-cut America needs.”
“You deserve a fair playing field.”
For 35 million Americans without coverage, “you will have what every man, woman child has in every industrialized nation.”
“It isn’t a simple bill, it isn’t a perfect bill; product of months and months of careful debate.”
“This is not a new idea, but it’s an idea whose time has come.”
Now reciting examples where Americans have died for lack of coverage, including the 12-year-old who died of a tooth infection.
We will vote for a system which reflects the “values we profess, principles we hold dear.”
“On this historic day, vote for a more perfect union…”
2:10 p.m. — Rep. Joe Barton — recognizes his wife for inability to go on anniversary vacation because he has to be here to do his job. Wife works in a public hospital. Begins a recitation of the costs.
Citizens will find out their money doesn’t buy but a very low level policy with their money.
Doesn’t think government should mandate people buy insurance or that businesses should buy insurance.
Doesn’t think government should be mandating but rarely.
2:14 p.m. — Rep. James Clyburn — thinking about voters who didn’t want government to mess with their insurance, but they don’t find out how bad their insurance is until they try to use.
Extended insurance for youth, access insurance for high risk, insurers will be prohibited from dropping you; displaced workers will not lose coverage and it will be affordable.
Three additional protections: no co-pays on preventative care, no caps, no discrimination against pre-existing coverage.
2:18 p.m. — Rep. John Shimkus — begins by attacking John Dingell as a long-supporter of a single-payer system; “this is a gateway to a single-player plan,” will achieve single-payer plan goals, including reduced Medicare coverage, increased premiums and rationed care.
2:19 p.m. — Rep. Rosa DeLaura — none of us serving in Congress will ever do anything as historic or lasting as providing health care for all. Will lift people out of poverty, will reduce discrimination in coverage.
Vote for America today, this is why we are here.
2:21 p.m. — Rep. Mary Bono — protests this bill, flies in the face of Hippocratic Oath to ‘first do no harm.’
Will increase costs to consumers, not provide more coverage.
2:22 p.m. — Rep. John Larson (chair of Dem Caucus — 36 million Americans depend upon the action of the house floor today. Today will address real threat to these Americans and not the fearmongering, citing examples of people who cannot afford health.
“Disease recognizes no borders, it affects all of us.”
“It is why we came here to serve, 36 million Americans deserve no less.”
2:25 p.m. — Rep. Nathan Deal — three concerns: by what constitutional authority does Congress require mandated insurance; illegal immigrants will receive care, since system can be abused; opt-out has been rejected, states can’t afford it.
2:27 p.m. — Rep. Chris Van Hollen — Nation stands at historic cross-roads: status quo, or access and affordable health care for all. Face unsustainable rising health care costs, health care premiums more than doubled since 2002 along with health care profits as insurers said no to insureds making claims.
Consumers Union and Consumer Reports, AARP, Doctors of America have endorsed this bill.
Not our job to protect insurance companies’ special interests.
Let’s vote for this bill.
2:29 p.m. — Rep. Marsha Blackburn — finds this a very sad day to vote for this bill; cites examples of Canadian medicine where care wasn’t provided as horror stories.
Cites H1N1 shortage as example of failure of government healthcare.
[chair trying to gavel down as she is running over her time]
2:31 p.m. — Rep. Waxman — acknowledges historic opportunity to provide health care for all. Failing to do so will bankrupt our country, individual families.
Health care insurance can be kept by those who already have it, but not lost by those who lose their jobs.
Caps on serious illness gone. No lifetime caps. Children up to age 27 will continue to have coverage under parents.
Provides Americans with more choice and competition, strengthening existing coverage and ending donut hole.
Only danger is to do nothing. Will not add to deficit.
Time to do something momentous for Americans.
2:34 p.m. — Rep. Bill Young — [sorry have to cut away here to publish]
Never mind, Rep. Boehner breaks in to ask about the Stupak amendment…Rep. Waxman tries to explain how it will be addressed…
2:37 p.m. — Rep. Frank Pallone — asks if Congress is going to ensure access to coverage, reasonable costs which won’t bankrupt families, and if they are in favor of supporting small businesses who need insurance for their workers, and if they are going to end discrimination against Americans for health care.
2:39 p.m. — Rep. Kevin McCarthy — it’s his second term, and boy have things changed since then. Notes stock market level and unemployment. Now blames Democrats. Insert usual litany about tax cuts and bailouts (can you tell I’m getting tired of this kind of Republican garbage?)
2:42 p.m. — Waxman recognizes Kennedy on mental health care components
2:43 p.m. — Rep. Charlie Rangel — surprised that opposition’s answer to citizens’ need for health care is no, points out it has been a standard response to other needs like Social Security.
Thanks members for working hard to ensure this bill would not only pay for itself but reduce the deficit over ten years.
It’s a small thing for members of congress who already have health care, but it’s a big thing for families who don’t have it or can’t afford it, in comparison to other countries’ which provided it for their people.
[gaveled out as he closes – audience claps, but no admonishment]
2:47 p.m. Rep. Ralph Hall — “This bill is a ‘generation killer,'” leaving debt for generations, asks members to vote no.
2:47 p.m. Rep. Anna Eschoo — This bill is a fitting memorial to Edward Kennedy who was a champion for underdog.
Abhorrent practice of dropping patients will end. Seniors will get stronger coverage.
2:49 p.m. Rep. Frank Upton — Notes (in his oddly squeaky voice) unemployment rate of 10.2% and Michigan’s 15% rate. How does this 20-lb. bill decrease our unemployment?
[what a moron, I’m sorry, apologize to the country for this idiot]
2:51 p.m. — Rep. Eliot Engel — proud of this bill to provide reasonable health care for all, it’s the reason many members of Congress sought to serve. Families will not have to worry any longer; don’t listen to the fearmongering.
Asks members to vote in support of bill.
2:52 p.m. — Rep. Kay Granger — Unemployment over 10%, deficit at 12 trillion, blah-blah-blah…going to vote for another trillion to force new debt, new agencies, new mandates on our citizens.
“What are people in this chamber thinking of?”
2:54 p.m. — Rep. Gene Green — a momentous day like those when Social Security and Medicare were created. Acknowledges how many people in his district do not have coverage or insufficient coverage. Lists the protections provided by the bill.
2:55 p.m. — Rep. Cliff Sterns — “I rise against this bill.” Bill makes a mockery of tort reform, bill undoes all states’ tort reform. allows trial lawyers to declare open season on all doctors. [whew, serious fear there…]
2:57 p.m. — Rep. Lois Capps — Women will no longer be discriminated against for being women; no discrimination for being a victim of domestic violence, provides health care for their entire family.
Urges all members to vote for bill.
2:58 p.m. — Rep. Ed. Whitfield — does not support creation of a federal board to oversee health care, doesn’t support increase in taxes, deficit, definitely not in territories.
[gaveled out as time runs out]
2:59 p.m. — Rep. Mike Doyle — opposition trying to scare seniors claiming it will destroy Medicare; wants to straighten out the message, as this bill will strengthen Medicare. Not only provides health care for all, but extends Medicare solvency by another five years, pays down part of deficit.
3:01 p.m. — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen — has a parent who requires long-term care; worried about families who must provide long-term care for senior family members, worried about unemployment, worried, worried, worried…
3:02 p.m. — Rep. Jay Insley — cites case of constituent has a wife who wants to start a small business; asks question about biosimilars and switching to generics; Waxman says only with doctor approval. Insley supports bill.
3:04 p.m. — Rep. Roy Blunt — can’t afford this bill, cuts Medicare, raises taxes, no estimate of job impacts, it’s a government takeover of health care; Medicare savings should be used to save Medicare, not to fund a new program.
Hope we reject this bill; if it passes, hope we can work together to really reform the system.
3:06 p.m. — Rep. G. K. Butterfield — we have a constitutional obligation to provide for the general health and welfare of our citizens. Not doing so is a failure of their duties.
Urges his fellow members to support the bill.
3:07 p.m. — Rep. Phil Gingrey — (after usually litany of fear) If they (members )forget, Americans won’t forget what they did and who did it to them.
* Must take a break, sorry, will pick up when I can. *
Who’d I miss? Just overheard Radanovich say government is more involved in our lives than ever — as if he had NOTHING to do with that. Agh.
3:15 p.m. — Rep. Jan Schakowsky — pushes HR 3962, stands up for womens’ health care. [WATCH FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THIS SEGMENT. Schakowsky said “It’s a great day for women” or something to that effect, waiting for video.]
3:15 p.m. — Rep. [didn’t catch name, help me here] — bill doesn’t not fix underlying problem of cost of health care, increases debt for future generations, state becomes responsible for everything and nobody responsible for state.
Urges members vote against the bill.
[time check, 13 min left for Dems, 17 for Repubs.]
3:16 p.m. — Rep. Tammy Baldwin — today we convene to debate a bill which provides meaningful health care reform, will vote for the bill, “every American deserves health care, every American shall have it.”
3:17 p.m. — Rodney Frelinghuysen — opposes bill, has received 13,000 letters, faxes, talked with constituents all over. Constituents worried about Pelosi’s 19,000 page bill how it will affect them. They worry with good reason.
3:19 p.m. — Rep. Barney Frank — cracks wise about important fishing constituents, not-so-important rancher constituents, asks about insertion of amendment related to commercial fishers [does this make any sense? couldn’t understand this…]
3:21 p.m. — Rep. Joseph Pitts — ah, finally brings up the issue of government prohibition against federal funding of abortion, asks members to vote against any funding of same.
3:22 p.m. — Rep. Kathy Castor — families no longer have to worry about cancellations due to long-term or chronic illness.
Supports the bill.
3:23 p.m. — Rep. Cynthia Lummis — Trillion-dollar tax will force all Wyomingans to buy insurance even if it doesn’t make sense for them. Threatened with imprisonment if they don’t participate.
“This bill will shackle the American people…”
[gaveled out; admonishment that gallery is in attendance as guests]
3:26 p.m. — Rep. Patrick Murphy — Cites example of small business owner who can’t keep up with cost of insurance, other constituent kicked off plan due to health condition. Says he’s a “proud Blue Dog Democrat,” bill reduces deficit and reins in costs, looks forward to working toward doing more.
3:27 p.m. — Rep. Henry Waxman inserts comment to thank Murphy and assure him they will continue to work on costs.
3:28 p.m. — Rep. [can’t keep up here at this point, it’s the usual whine about costs, gov’t intervention, blah-blah]
3:29 p.m. — Rep. Christopher Murphy — kids go to bed sick at night because parent can’t afford care. No excuse for this. We can provide care, can do better, supports the bill.
3:30 p.m. — Rep. Mike Rogers — huge consequences to citizens who’ve already earned their care in this bill. They will be another victim. When mother takes sick child to doctor, that relationship is no longer sacred; bill forces rationing of care. Violates fundamental relationship between mother and doctor. [Wow will he say that about women’s reproductive rights? Not.] Urges strong rejection of bill.
3:32 p.m. — Rep. John Balazar — bill will increase the number of doctors, reduce families going bankrupt, it’s time to fix this now.
3:33 p.m. — Rep. [didn’t catch name] — Holding the bill in his hand, big heap of paper, 530 million dollars of spending per page. Fails citizens due to tax increases, fails seniors due to cuts in services, fails citizens as it violates president’s promises.
3:35 p.m. — Rep. Betty Button — Americans have been waiting for this day, ending discrimination, caps, closing donut hole.
[time check: Dems 5.25 min left, Repubs 11 min — ugh…]
3:36 p.m. — Rep. Michael Burgess — Americans wanted relief, including doctors wrt to formulary, medical (tort?) liability, didn’t provide what doctors needed. Many practices didn’t get what they needed.
[Running over, gaveled out]
Someone spoke for less than 10 sec, didn’t catch who they were.
3:39 p.m. — Rep. Tom Perriello — asking Waxman whether maternal care part of bill, Waxman confirms [didn’t catch the other question, did you? pls advise in comments]
3:40 p.m. — Rep. John Shadegg — holding up baby named Maddie, claims Maddie wants freedom, that her health care won’t be there because of the bill.
[I can’t write this guy’s babbling, he is using a baby like a freaking meat puppet, “Maddie says…”]
[Audience actually claps for this crap; admonished for speaking to guests in the house.]
[Waxman says baby is remarkable child, and remarkable ventriloquist.]
3:42 p.m. — Rep. John Sarbanes — Americans need this bill; they just want to know if bill makes sense, if it will help them. Seniors will get donut hole filled, youths get extended coverage, adults will see abuses of insurance system stopped.
Urges support of bill.
3:43 p.m. — Rep. Steve Buyer — Americans fight for others’ freedom, but Congress denies them freedom in their health care. His amendments were denied last night in committee, veterans denied their choice [is YELLING at Congress].
[gaveled out, another admonishment to audience]
Waxman yields himself one minute, says bill allows vets to keep their benefits and participate in exchange if they desired.
[Much yelling now, house president now demanding (Buyer?) respect Waxman’s time]
3:46 p.m. — Rep. Bruce Braley — says his class was voted to change direction, talks about an infant family member who had a partial liver removal; working parents who both have insurance still have steep bills they must pay, is very wrong. Bill will help them.
3:48 p.m. — Rep. Spencer Bachus — promised a “haircut of choice” but it’s going to be government choosing. Freedom is about choice, this bill denies choice, not freedom.
3:49 p.m. — Rep. Susan Davis — plans to support bill, concerned with Sec. 309, wants strong consumer/patient safe guards like in her state of California.
Waxman thanks her for her work, bill should not find loopholes in state laws.
3:50 p.m. — Rep. Jeff Fortenberry — bill is massive, risky revamp of insurance system, doesn’t address portability. Expensive bill will fail to address costs, will simply shift costs. Missed an opportunity for real reform, can’t support bill.
[Dems have used up most time, Repubs now taking more of theirs]
3:52 p.m. — Rep. [didn’t catch name] — Thank goodness he lives in America where he can be treated as he chooses for his prostate cancer and not in other socialized medicine countries. Constituent has cried to him, “Don’t take away my options.”
[Question as to whether members of House can “approve” — applaud — comments; not strictly against rules. Oh joy.]
3:55 p.m. — Rep. Tom Cole — usual litany: Oklahomans know this bill will kill jobs, raise taxes, increase insurance costs, step backwards, voting against bill.
3:56 p.m. — Rep. Elijah Cummings — What should he say to a constituent with cancer who is choosing between eating and health care premium? what about constituent who paid insurance but still faced a $22,000 bill after having a baby? We should use our moral authority. Support the bill.
3:57 p.m. — Rep. Christopher Smith — Pro-Stupak amendment, prevents Christians from paying for abortions [insert usual excessively violent language here about the nature of abortion.]
[Question as to who has the right to close. Majority.]
3:59 p.m. — Rep. Jeb Hensarling — Canadians have to wait days, weeks, months for surgery; his elderly father got bypass surgery right away because he wasn’t in Britain, Canada, etc. Shouldn’t be bankrupting children for care we can’t get right away.
* need a break again here; keep me posted on what happens *
4:03 p.m. — Rep. Joe Barton — doesn’t believe we should have a system which stipulates what we should have for insurance. There is an alternative, the Republican alternative has a plan without mandates on Americans.
4:40 p.m. — Rep. Henry Waxman — 37 million Americans do not have insurance because they aren’t employed, their employer doesn’t offer, have preexisting condition, that’s not freedom. We want them to buy the same insurance all other Americans have, shouldn’t be forced into bankruptcy. Let’s do this for them.
– END OF THIS POST –