A Missouri Congressman who voted against the health care measure which squeezed its way to passage in the United States House doesn’t believe the bill is going anywhere despite its passage.
Northeast Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican freshman, voted against the trillion dollar health care bill which passed the House in Washington 220-to-215. Luetkemeyer says he listened to doctors in his district before casting his “No” vote.
“I’ve talked to many doctors around my district over the course of the last several months as we have debated this issue,” Luetkemeyer says, “and many of them have said, especially the ones over 50 years of age, have said, ‘If this goes in, I quit.’”
Luetkemeyer says the bill edges the country too close to government-run health care. He also worries about the price tag, estimated at $1 trillion over ten years, and the method devised to pay for it. Medicare would be cut by more than $400 billion over the next ten years. A 5.4% surcharge would be added to the income tax of individuals making half a million dollars a year, $1 million for families.
The House version of health care legislation would require every individual to obtain health insurance. It would require nearly all businesses to provide health coverage for workers or face a health care tax. Medicaid would expand. It contains a public option in which people could get federal subsidies to buy insurance in the private sector or join a new government-run insurance plan. Democrats say the plan will cover workers who currently don’t receive any health care benefits.
Luetkemeyer says there are other ways to reach consensus on health care.
“I’m not opposed to health care reform. Let’s do it in stages. Let’s find what’s wrong with it and correct those things. Let’s don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Luetkemeyer says. “This approach is like trying to take care of somebody with a sprained ankle by cutting their leg off. This is not the way to solve the problem.”
Luetkemeyer predicts the Senate will reject the House version.
“But the massive takeover of health care, the massive tax increases that are in this bill, the mandates that are in this bill, I can’t see any of that coming back out of the Senate,” says Luetkemeyer, who believes the Senate will work on its own bill, which will look much different than the bill approved by the House.
Missouri Republicans Roy Blunt, Jo Ann Emerson, Sam Graves, Todd Akin and Blaine Luetkemeyer all voted against the measure. Democrat Ike Skelton also voted against it. Democrats Emanuel Cleaver, Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan voted in favor. Only one Republican in the House voted in favor of the measure.