Washington, DC–Congressman Scott Murphy (D-20th) announced late Friday, March 19, that he intends to vote in support of President Obama’s Health Care Reform Bill. The vote in the House is scheduled for Sunday, March 21.
Mr. Murphy said in a prepared statement:
“Last November, I voted against the House health care reform legislation because I did not believe it adequately addressed the fundamentally flawed system that has led to skyrocketing health care costs, bankrupt families, and excessive profits for insurance companies. In the months since that vote, I have worked closely with my constituents, my colleagues in Congress, and with President Obama to address many of these concerns and ultimately strengthen this legislation.
“From the beginning, I have said that I support meaningful health care reform that is fiscally responsible and stops the out of control growth of health care costs. This legislation will not only make coverage more affordable for New York families, but it will also reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion in the first 10 years and $1.2 trillion over the next 10.
“Furthermore, this bill is serious about slowing the out of control growth of health care costs that are devastating our families and small businesses. I am pleased that the final legislation reflects many of my recommendations to encourage individuals to make healthy choices, reward doctors based on quality outcomes, and combat Medicare fraud and abuse. By simply implementing several common sense policies, we can slow the rising costs of health care for New York families.
“As a small businessman, I am also keenly aware of the impact rising health care costs have on small businesses and New York’s economy. The bill before us makes significant improvements over the House-passed legislation by eliminating the employer mandate for small businesses, providing meaningful tax incentives, as well as creating heath care exchanges that allow businesses to band together to negotiate better prices from insurance companies. On a local level, I fought to ensure that several of our largest employers—paper mills and medical device manufacturers—are treated fairly under this legislation. These reforms will ensure that our local businesses can continue to provide quality coverage while creating jobs and driving economic growth.
“Over the last year, I have held more than 100 district events to ensure an open and honest discussion about health care reform. I have listened very carefully to the diverse views of our district. Yet despite all of our differences, we remain united in the basic belief that our current health care system can be improved. This legislation takes health care choices out of the hands of insurance companies and puts them back in the hands of families and doctors. These reforms will ensure that insurance companies are prohibited from the practices of excluding those with pre-existing conditions, capping benefits, and discontinuing coverage when people get sick.
“Lastly, to put this in very personal terms, I’m here today in Washington with my son Duke, who is 4. This year, our nation will spend over $2.6 trillion on health care, up from $2.3 trillion last year, and the rate of spending is only increasing. If we do not act to reign in this out of control system, by the time he graduates high school we will be spending over $7 trillion a year on health care. For these reasons, I intend to vote Yes on the President’s health care reform legislation.”
Mr. Murphy is one of the last members of Congress to announce his position on the bill the House is considering as part of the reconciliation process with the health insurance reform bill adopted by the Senate. He said that he was awaiting the final draft of the bill before making his decision. In the meantime, his office has received a large volume of calls and email from both supporters and opponents of the bill, and there have been demonstrations outside his district offices.
Even with Mr. Murphy’s support, the vote in the House Sunday is likely to be close.
The 20th Congressional District includes all of Columbia County and all or part of nine other counties.