Sunday, November 08, 2009

Alaska Congressman Don Young Courageously Votes Against The H.R. 3962 Health Care Boondoggle, Says It's A Vote To Rescind Freedom

On November 8th, 2009, CNN reports that the U.S. House of Representatives voted 220-215 to pass H.R. 3962, dubiously named the "Affordable Health Care Act for America". The vote proceeded almost along party lines, with Democrats supporting it 219-39, and Republicans opposing it 176-1. Rep. Joe Cao (R-Louisiana) was the only Republican who voted in favor of the bill, but he represents a heavily-Democratic district. View the full roll call vote HERE.

The full 1,990 page bill can be viewed HERE (it takes a couple of minutes to load).

H.R. 3962 seeks to expand health care coverage to the approximately 40 million Americans who are currently uninsured by lowering the cost of health care and making the system more efficient. To that end, it includes a new government-run insurance plan to compete with the private companies, a requirement that all Americans have health insurance, a ban on denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition and, to pay for it all, a surtax on individuals with incomes above $500,000. Other key provisions are posted HERE, and other summaries of the bill can be found here.

One of the 215 voting against the bill was Alaska Congressman Don Young. After the vote, Rep. Young released a statement to the Anchorage Daily News, characterizing it as "a vote to rescind American freedom", explaining that the bill "doesn't include accessibility, portability, or affordability. What it does include is insurance without access. What is the point of holding an insurance card if you can't find a doctor who will accept it? Insurance is only one small portion of a much larger problem, and this bill ignores that. This is more about political tactics than what's good for this country, and it's shameful."

The Republican National Committee also criticized the vote, saying "Today with help from their liberal House allies, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi finally got what they have been creating behind closed doors these past months -- a government-run health care experiment that will increase families' health care costs, increase the deficit, increase taxes on small businesses and the middle class, and cut Medicare".

One aspect of the bill which came under serious fire is the provision to force all Americans to buy health insurance, with penalties for failure to do so. Just a few days ago, during an interview with CNSNews, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said he does not believe the Democrats’ health-care reform plan is constitutionally justifiable, noting that if the federal government can force Americans to buy health insurance “then there is literally nothing the federal government can’t force us to do.” Hatch also said if the federal government starts ordering Americans to purchase specific products without being able to plausibly justify that mandate through the Commerce Clause of the Constitution which empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce, it will mean “we’ve lost our freedoms, and that means the federal government can do anything it wants to do to us.” Comparing health insurance to auto insurance is invalid; while a person can legally evade auto insurance requirements by not owning and driving a motor vehicle, the only way a person could legally evade health insurance requirements would be by not breathing (or perhaps by leaving the country and renouncing American citizenship).

The bill’s passage was secured in large part by a vote that took place earlier in the evening on an amendment from Rep. Bart Stupak [D, MI-1] to strengthen language in the bill banning the use of federal funds for abortions. The amendment, which was approved by a vote of 240-194, essentially restricts all low and middle-income people purchasing insurance with federal subsidies from buying a plan that covers abortions besides those resulting from rape or incest, or in cases where the mother’s life is endangered. A bloc of about forty conservative Democrats had been threatening for weeks to vote en masse to kill the bill if they weren’t allowed to vote on Stupak’s amendment.

The next move is up to the Senate. It's unclear when the Senate will vote on a version of the health care legislation debated in that chamber. Back in July, the Senate was considering a bill entitled "The Affordable Health Choices Act" (the 615-page draft is available HERE in PDF format), one of three different Congressional proposals compared side-by-side HERE on the Kaiser Foundation's website. If the Senate passes a bill, both the House and Senate bills would have to be reconciled into one document and voted on again.

1 comment:

  1. finally ..A meaningful health care reform passes...