Local Politics

Hagan, Burr express concern over health care funding

Posted November 8, 2009
Updated November 9, 2009

— President Barack Obama said Sunday it was time for the Senate to "take the baton" on health care reform after the House passed its plan for overhauling the nation's health care system.

"For years we've been told that this couldn't be done," Obama said in a brief statement from the Rose Garden. "But last night the House proved different."

The Democratic-controlled House on Saturday narrowly passed the far-reaching legislation, 220-215, but the road ahead in the Senate promises to be rocky.

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North Carolina senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr both expressed concern Sunday over paying for the $1.2 trillion bill.

“I think we've got to have health care reform. I think we've got to remember too, that I’ve said from the very beginning that I don't want to do anything that is going to increase our federal deficit,” Democratic Hagan said.

"Rather than lowering costs, the House bill seeks to hide them in the federal budget – and cuts Medicare and raises taxes in an attempt to pay for the government expansion that comes with the bill," Republican Burr said in a statement.

Hagan also pointed out that the House bill is different from the Senate version.

  • The House would require employers to provide coverage; the Senate does not.
  • The House would pay for the coverage expansion by raising taxes on upper-income earners; the Senate uses a variety of taxes and fees, including a levy on high-cost insurance plans.
  • The House plan costs about $1.2 trillion over 10 years; the Senate version is under $900 billion.

Both the House and Senate bills gradually would extend coverage to nearly all Americans by providing government subsidies to help pay premiums. The measures would bar insurers' practices such as charging more to those in poor health or denying them coverage altogether.

All Americans would be required to carry health insurance, either through an employer, a government plan or by purchasing it on their own.

To keep down costs, the government subsidies and consumer protections don't take effect until 2013. During the three-year transition, both bills would provide $5 billion in federal dollars to help get coverage for people with medical problems who are turned down by private insurers.

Both House and Senate would expand significantly the federal-state Medicaid health program for low-income people.

The majority of people with employer-provided health insurance would not see changes. The main beneficiaries would be some 30 million people who have no coverage at work or have to buy it on their own. The legislation would create a federally regulated marketplace where they could shop for coverage.

The Senate is not likely to jump ahead this week on health care. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will keep meeting with senators to see if he can work out a political formula that will give him not only the 60 votes needed to begin debate, but the 60 needed to shut off discussion and bring the bill to a final vote.


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  • MakoII Nov 10, 2009

    original intent, 3:40 PM, Here's a Madison quote for you:

    "Large and permanent military establishments which are forbidden by the principles of free government, and against the necessity of which the militia were meant to be a constitutional bulwark."

    James Madison

    Source: Fourth Annual Message, November 4, 1812

    Oh, Madison is irrelevant NOW that he said THAT? That was THEN, this is NOW, right? Has the argument changed?

    If times can change with respect to our Founding Constitutional Father and the Large Military issue, it can ALSO change with respect to expanding General Welfare, which by HIS quotes clearly refer to the modern understanding of that word.

    Your cherry-pick Madison quotes to suit your philosophy and it just doesn't cut it with learned people.

    Why don't you pick a philosophy and stick with it, original-when-i-want-it-to-be-intent?

  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 10, 2009

    original intent: Agreed. However, these dead guys are not here to speak for themselves, so I feel that it is our duty to remind our fellow Americans of the wisdom that they have to offer us, if we would only listen.

  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 10, 2009

    "All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation."


  • original intent Nov 10, 2009

    6079 SMITH W....Be careful... some of these GOLO folks don't like it when you quote one of America's Founders or great leaders,,,of which there has been slight drought of that during the 20th & early 21st centuries....I was chastised yesterday for quoting James Madison who basically stated it was NOT the role of federal Govt to perform acts of charity and promote the general welfare has a well-defined "boundary" to it...and Madison should know as he wrote most of it..so he KNEW the founders intent!

  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 10, 2009

    "Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure."


  • gov watchdog Nov 10, 2009

    Under the House bill those who can afford to buy insurance and don’t’ pay a fine. If the refuse to pay that fine there’s a threat – as with a lot of tax fines – of jail time. The Senate removed that provision in the Senate Finance Committee.


    "What I think is appropriate is that in the same way that everybody has to get auto insurance and if you don't, you're subject to some penalty..." - Obama EXCEPT everybody does NOT have to have auto insurance, only those that choose to have cars and drive them on PUBLIC roads.

  • 5Rs Nov 10, 2009

    Also, MakoII, the Congress (specifically, the House) creates the spending bills. The only role of the President is to jawbone or pressure Congress and to either sign or veto the bill.

    In the case of this non-healthcare, non-reform bill, the only way Pelosi and Obama got enough votes was to pressure, threaten or porkulus (definition: buy votes with pork) Democrats into voting for the bill.

  • 5Rs Nov 10, 2009

    MakoII, nice fiction on the Clinton years.

    The TRUTH is the spur for a balanced budget came from the Gingrich-led Republican "Contract with America". You can give Clinton credit for going along with the flow at the time.

  • 6079 SMITH W Nov 10, 2009

    "Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."


  • gov watchdog Nov 10, 2009

    A Democrat with principals voted for the Healthcare bill BECAUSE he was able to get $128M in pork for his district. Not for the merits of the bill, because he got $128M for his district. So glad the children are in charge.