Split N.C. delegation votes 8-5 against health care bill
Posted November 8, 2009 8:19 a.m. EST
Updated November 8, 2009 8:11 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Eight of North Carolina's 13 representatives, including three Democrats, voted against the health care overhaul bill approved by the House of Representatives Saturday.
According to the House's online records, Democratic Reps. Larry Kissel, District 8; Mike McIntyre, District 7; and Health Shuler, District 11, opposed the bill, along with Republican Reps. Howard Coble, District 6; Virginia Foxx, District 5; Walter B. Jones, District 3; Patrick T. McHenry, District 10; and Sue Myrick, District 9.
Voting for the bill were Democratic Reps. G.K. Butterfield, District 1; Bob Etheridge, District 2; Brad Miller, District 13; David Price, District 4; and Mel Watt, District 12.
The 1,990-page, $1.2 trillion bill passed the house 220-215, with 219 Democrats and one Republican voting "yes" and 39 Democrats joining 176 Republicans to vote "no."
McIntyre said he opposed the bill because it cost too much, could harm small businesses and jobs, and didn't address long-term health care. Instead, he urged overhauling health care in "fiscally responsible," targeted steps.
"During these tough economic times, I could not support this bill, because it was flawed," McIntyre said in a statement Saturday. "The need for health care reform is clear, but the focus should be on lowering the skyrocketing costs of health care, bringing down the cost of premiums and ensuring access and affordability of health care for all."
North Carolina Democrats who voted for the bill said they did it for the economy and for duty.
"The bill will dramatically improve our nation's health insurance system," said Etheridge, who is the only North Carolina member of the House Ways and Means Committee. "The bill provides coverage you can count on that can't be taken away."
"Allowing a broken health system to bankrupt families, businesses and hospitals and deny coverage to tens of millions is a failure of duty," Butterfield said.
North Carolina Republican representatives have not commented to WRAL on the health care vote, but most talked about the bill before its passage.
Foxx called it a "trillion dollar bill that raises taxes on small business and working families while at the same time making health care more expensive."
Jones said "it includes more than $700 billion in tax increases on small businesses and others" and "nearly $400 billion in Medicare cuts."
The legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide federal subsidies to those who can't afford it. Most businesses would have to offer coverage. Both consumers and companies would be fined for not complying.
The measure would create a federally regulated marketplace in which consumers could shop for coverage and the government would sell insurance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that government plans will be more expensive.
Denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions would be banned, as would charging higher premiums based on sex or medical history. Insurers would no longer be exempt from federal antitrust restrictions on price fixing and market allocation.
The bill's cost, which is estimated over a decade, would be met by cutting Medicare spending by more than $400 billion. The measure creates a tax surcharge of 5.4 percent on income over $500,000 in the case of individuals and $1 million for families.