Dem Congressman On Health Bill: Insurance Companies Are “Holding Hostages”
Friday, March 19th, 2010
A Democratic Congressman has stated that he will refuse to vote yes on the pending health care reform bill, declaring that the legislation represents a vastly bloated giveaway to insurance companies and big pharma.
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) asserts that the Senate bill bankrolls the very companies that president Obama says are taking advantage of the American people.
“We’ve paid the ransom, but at the end of the day the insurance companies are still holding the hostages,’’ Lynch said in an interview with The Boston Globe yesterday.
“This is a very good bill for insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. It might be good for Nebraska, I don’t know. Or Florida residents. But it’s not good for the average American, and it’s not good for my district. Or for Massachusetts.’’ Lynch added.
“The insurers still rule,” Lynch said. “Were just pumping subsidies into the current system, but that won’t drive down costs.”
The Congressman says he also opposes the way in which the House Democrats intend to pass the legislation, bypassing a traditional vote and opting for the so called Slaughter rule of “Deem and Pass”.
Lynch, has said that the parliamentary move would be “disingenuous” and would fundamentally harm the credibility of Congress.
He added that the move “may be unconstitutional.”
“It’s a stretch,” Lynch said. “I think it hurts our credibility to try to pull a prank like that. We should stand up and tell voters where we stand.”
As we reported yesterday, president Obama glossed over questions surrounding the process, stating “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate.”
Unlike his Democratic colleague from Ohio, Dennis Kucinich, Lynch has stuck to his guns despite a meeting with Obama.
“The president was courteous and generous with his time,” Lynch said. “The president asked me if there was anything he could do that I should tell him, and I told him, ‘I have been over this bill and I still wasn’t satisfied.’ ”
“I continue to be opposed to the bill,” he said.
Kucinich had said he opposed the bill, citing the exact same points as Lynch, however, a 40 minute jaunt on board Airforce One with the president, in addition to veiled threats directed his way by Obama swayed Kucinich to change his mind.
“There doesn’t appear to be any way to put reform into this bill,” Lynch said. “It’s a very poor bill.”
“If they put reform back in the health reform bill, that would change my position,” he told reporters yesterday.
When reminded yesterday of Senator Ted Kennedy’s advice to not let the “perfect be the enemy of the good,’’ Lynch told reporters: “There’s a difference between compromise and surrender, right? And this is a complete surrender of all the things that people thought were important to health care reform.’’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team, as well as Obama himself are intensely lobbying individual representatives before Sunday’s anticipated vote as they seek to win the 216 votes needed to pass the measure. According to reports, the Democrats are still six votes short.