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AZ delegation, candidates weigh in on health care legislation

AZ delegation, candidates weigh in on health care legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives on March 21 voted 219 to 212 to pass the health care legislation that the Senate had already approved. The vote sends the measure to President Obama, who expects to sign the legislation March 23.

Republican U.S. Reps. Jeff Flake, Trent Franks and John Shadegg voted against the health care legislation. Democratic U.S. Reps. Ed Pastor, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Gabrielle Giffords and Harry Mitchell voted for it.

After approving the bill, the House voted for a package of changes to it. That package now goes to the Senate for approval. The package was negotiated among members of the House, Senate and the Obama administration.

Right after the House vote, most of Arizona’s congressional delegation began sending out press releases to explain either their support or their opposition. Candidates for Congress also weighed in. Check out their comments below.

“After a year of debate, studying bills, and listening to Arizonans, one thing has been made clear. We cannot sustain the path we are on because health care costs are burdening Arizona families, hurting the economy and slowing the recovery. This package would strengthen Medicare for seniors, maintain TRICARE for veterans, help mitigate the impact of Medicaid costs on Arizona, and make health insurance more accessible and affordable for individuals, families and small businesses. Additionally, it would rein in costs and reduce the deficit.” – U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell, a Democrat who represents Arizona’s 5th Congressional District.

“Congressman Harry Mitchell has betrayed his constituents, his state and our country. His vote Sunday night will be remembered and will have long lasting consequences not only in our state but beyond. In voting not once, but two times, to support the Democrat-led government takeover of our health care system, Congressman Mitchell is giving the green light to a crippling increase in public spending, enormous tax increases, the prospect of a new national sales tax and an unwarranted intrusion of government into our personal lives.” – Jim Ward, a Republican candidate for Arizona’s 5th Congressional District.

“I have spent months traveling the district talking about health care, and my conversations with folks in our communities reminded me of what was at stake for Arizonans. I talked with Jonathan in Williams, who after spending 24 hours in the hospital over Christmas was charged $34,000 for his stay. I talked with Marlene in Florence, whose health insurance premiums rose every month to the point where she just could not afford her plan anymore – and was diagnosed with leukemia soon after she lost coverage. And I talked with Jim and Diane in Cottonwood, who are working multiple jobs to pay for their son’s asthma medication. I voted to pass reform for Jonathan, for Marlene, for Jim and Diane and for thousands of others like them who have been failed by the system.” – U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat representing Arizona’s 1st Congressional District.

“I am deeply disappointed that Representative Giffords has so blatantly voted against the majority of voters in her district. Her vote for a large, new federal health care entitlement will both increase deficit spending and restrict free market health care options available to residents of District 8. When I am in Congress, I will do everything in my power to reverse Obamacare and enact real free market solutions that truly increase competition and lower costs.” – Jesse Kelly, a Republican candidate for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

“President Barack Obama and Democrats in this majority have now shoved this bill down the throats of the American people without even a single Republican vote. Never before has such sweeping legislation been done with a purely partisan vote. Therefore, whatever ill comes from this bill, history should record that Democrats and Democrats alone chose the path of socialism over the highway of freedom. Let this and future generations hold them accountable.” – U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican who represents Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.

“Reform has always been about assisting the most vulnerable in our society. That’s why I’ve made this last year about doing what I can on their behalf. In that light, I could cast no other vote today. Our status quo is simply unsustainable. The people of this country have been crying out for Congress to act. Because we acted today, by the end of this year no insurer will be allowed to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. No company can cut off benefits because it wants a bigger profit margin. All insurers will be required to treat everyone more equally regardless of age, race and gender. Today, we commit significant support to community health centers around the country that provide medical care to the most vulnerable in society. Those are significant achievements.” – U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat who represents Arizona’s 7th Congressional District.

“After hearing from thousands of my constituents on this topic over the past year, I am convinced that something must be done to hold insurance companies accountable, give Southern Arizonans greater health care choices and bring down medical costs. The legislation before us, while far from perfect, represents a needed step forward. Last fall, I was proud to support legislation that included a public option. My constituents know that I am a former small business owner who believes in common sense solutions. I know first-hand the challenge of providing employee health insurance as costs climb every year.” – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat who represents Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

“Over the past year, this health care bill has become an outrage; an outrage that has become a revolution. And this revolution, I promise you, on the first Tuesday in November, will lead to a shake-up in Washington the likes of which we have not seen in a generation.” – Jonathan Paton, a Republican candidate for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.

“Well, we’ll begin in this reconciliation … that’s going to come to the Senate in the next couple of days, and then we’ll fight in the courts, and then we will fight at the rallies and the Tea Parties, and the town hall meetings, and we will fight in the ballot booth, and we will prevail, and we will defeat this, because the United States of America and the State of Arizona cannot afford this. … The point is that this is a direct contradiction to the overwhelming majority opinion of the American people. It’s the first time in history a major change has been made when – with only on a partisan basis, and I can assure you that this will have a harmful effect. … It’s the worst sausage-making process that I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here.” – U.S. Sen. John McCain, a Republican who is up for re-election this year, speaking on Channel 3’s Good Morning Arizona.

“The legislation creates an avalanche of new agencies, rules and regulations that will vastly expand federal power over the most intimate aspects of each of our lives. It also contains unsustainable, unconstitutional and unaffordable mandates on the states and on individuals alike, including an unprecedented requirement that citizens buy private insurance policies. I support legal challenges to the health care bill’s enforcement as well as legislative efforts toward its repeal.” – J.D. Hayworth, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

  1. Theodora Weaver
    Theodora Weaver03-24-2010

    When President Bush vetoed the SCHIP bill back in 2007, he did it because he knew that this bill will eventually lead to federalized healthcare. The purpose and intent of the SCHIP bill was to enforce a form of healthcare for the poor children, not the middle class. He mentioned that we may see one out of three children leaving their private healthcare plans to join a federalized plan. Since we don’t really know everything that is in the present bill, we need more answers and not partisan viewpoints by only the democratic party. The old saying goes, “If you have nothing to hide, then why hide it?” We need reassurances that doctors will not be dictated to as to how they should treat their patients. We need to know that if a doctor intends on performing more tests on a patient, that they will be able to do so without government intervention. This protects the patient and the doctor. Since it will be required for everyone to have insurance (which isn’t really constitutional), what else in the future will be required of the people? These are questions that not only Americans are looking at, but the whole world. A person making $80,000 a year should be able to afford a private health insurance plan, not a government-run health plan. Most people are making in the 40 or 50 thousand range. This bill needs to be reread and studied before any final resolutions. I am in favor of insurance coverage for all, but not in the way things are being done, as most Americans feel the same way. The only advantage that I can see thus far is this: Since so many are now losing their jobs and their homes, it’s better that they have some form of coverage than none at all. Therefore, I see the timing of this whole situation quite advantageous for those who prefer dictatorships.

  2. TrueAZConservative

    With the passage of this abhorent assault on all Americans’ freedom, and state sovereignty, voters need to deeply consider who they will support this November! We need real conservative represenatives in power in order to stop the attack from the left.

    The following is former State Senator, and CD3 candidate, Pamela Gorman’s take on the health care bill::

    “As America watched, 219 House Democrats recently ignored the will of the American people and passed their government takeover of health care. These people, supposedly representing us all, deemed your opinion irrelevant.

    I was out in the community at a campaign event that day meeting voters and I can tell you I have never, in all the years I have served in public office, seen this level of concern and utter frustration from the electorate. Many approached my booth and the first thing they wanted to know was, “Where do you stand on this healthcare bill being voted today?” That tells me that people are both engaged and motivated. That is the good news. The bad news is that this monstrosity of a bill did later that night pass. The problems with this enormous overhaul of American healthcare policy are numerous, but here are a few that concerned voters the most:

    • The unconstitutional individual mandate
    • The job-killing employer mandate and taxes
    • The taxpayer funding of abortion
    • The Medicare cuts that take choices away from seniors
    • The unfunded mandates on States which will burden already-strained budgets with billions in new spending obligations
    • The new government czars charged with deciding health care coverage
    • The shady backroom deals made to buy off votes from Members of Congress who otherwise would not have supported this bill.

    Prior to passage of this bill, the biggest concerns for most Americans were rising premiums and the rising cost of care. The Democrats’ bill, with all its disastrous policies, does not curb skyrocketing costs. And, premiums will go up under their plan along with taxes (both direct and indirect).

    To improve access to quality, affordable health care, we must look to patient-centered reforms based on the principles of choice and innovation. Several good policy proposals have been suggested by members of Congress over the last couple decades, and it is high time we get behind these reforms to replace this disastrous effort recently passed by Democrats in Washington.

    This week, Republicans begin the hard work of repealing the terrible policies contained in the Democrats’ bill. But the reality is that we will only be successful in doing so through the election process. That is where YOU can finally be heard.

    Show Washington that you are not only relevant, but that you are powerful. Let them “hear” you, finally, with a voice they cannot ignore… your voter’s voice!

    I am determined to not only vote to repeal this destructive bill, but to replace it with real reforms that are long overdue for the American consumer. I want to see the marketplace work by giving you the freedom to choose your own healthcare provider, and if you choose, your own insurance provider. You should be able to directly purchase your insurance at any level of coverage, from any insurance company, in any state… And, you should be able to purchase it with after-tax dollars (just like employers do now).

    Most Republican candidates for Congress will support these better options, but I will lead the way and fight to the end. That is what I have always done in your state legislature, and you can count on me to continue to be a fighter for you when I get to Washington. We are in a battle for the very soul of America. This is no time for “go-along-get-along” politicians. I am a fighter and I am not afraid to fight the Republican party, if they are behaving like Democrats and bureaucrats.”

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