By Rick Howlett
With one exception, members of the Kentucky and Indiana congressional delegations voted along party lines in last night’s House passage of sweeping health care overhaul legislation. Kentucky’s four Republican House members and Democrat Ben Chandler voted against the two bills. Chandler said he couldn’t support the entire package because it places too much of a burden on small businesses and rural hospitals. Democrat John Yarmuth of Louisville voted for the legislation, calling it the “right thing” for the country and his constituents.
Indiana’s five Democratic House members voted for the legislation; the state’s four Republicans voted “no.”
Here is a statement from Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville on Sunday night’s vote:
“During my three years in Congress, there has been no single issue that I have heard more about from Louisvillians than health care. To this day, the enormous majority have told me they want change that will guarantee access to health care, rein in skyrocketing costs, and give them more choice and control in the marketplace. I came to Congress largely to accomplish these goals on their behalf,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “This is a vote I did not cast for my party or for politics, but because it is the right thing for our country and the right thing for Louisville. This is a promise I made to my constituents. It is the most important vote I have cast as a Member of Congress, and it is the one about which I am most proud.”
As a result of the legislation that was passed tonight:
· Coverage for every Louisvillian will be strengthened, ensuring everyone will be able to keep the coverage they have now even if they lose their job or get sick, and guaranteeing every one has access to quality, affordable coverage, regardless of pre-existing condition.
· 452,000 residents will find their employer-based coverage strengthened.
· 176,000 Louisvillians will get the help they need to afford quality health coverage.
· 15,700 small businesses will be eligible for tax credits to help reduce health care costs.
· Medicare will be improved for nearly 117,000 in our community as the prescription drug donut hole that eats away at their pocket book is closed for good, care is strengthened, and waste and abuse are cut out.
· 51,000 young adults will be able to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans
· 30,000 uninsured Louisvillians will finally have access to quality health care coverage.
· 9,000 residents with pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain coverage.
· Reduces the cost of uncompensated care for Louisville hospitals and health care providers by $130 million.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is also supported by hundreds of groups, including the AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, Small Business Majority, the NAACP, the Catholic Health Association, the Autism Society of America, and the Federation of American Hospitals.