Skip to comments.Arkansas blue dogs: No timetable for health care reform legislation
Posted on 07/17/2009 1:10:33 AM PDT by Libloather
Arkansas blue dogs: No timetable for health care reform legislation
By John Lyon / Arkansas News Bureau
Thursday, July 16, 2009 12:22 PM CDT
LITTLE ROCK Two members of Arkansas congressional delegation who helped put the breaks on legislation to reform the nations health care system said Friday they dont believe the reform effort should follow a timetable.
U.S. Reps. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, and Marion Berry, D-Gillett, were among 40 members of the Blue Dog Coalition of centrist Democrats who wrote to Democrat Party leaders Thursday demanding changes in health care legislation the leadership was drafting.
Party leaders had said a bill would be completed Friday, but the Blue Dog Coalitions action disrupted that schedule. In interviews with the Arkansas News Bureau, Ross and Berry said Congress should take its time.
This is the biggest domestic issue well deal with this century, Ross said. Why rush it? Lets take our time and get it right.
Its possible to do this before the recess, but if we dont get it right before the recess then we should wait and get it right, because its the most far-reaching piece of legislation since Ive been here, Berry said. We already suffered a setback (in reforming health care) in 94, and we dont want to do that again.
Among other things, Ross and Berry said the draft bill did not do enough to control costs and did not address a disparity between rural and urban areas in Medicare reimbursements.
Some Arkansans believe moving slowly is a mistake.
If you dont have an ambitious timetable, you dont get it done, said Neil Sealy of Little Rock, an Arkansas organizer for the community activist group ACORN and the grassroots group Health Care for America Now!
One of the things that happens is, you can be killed by a thousand cuts, Sealy said. What were afraid of is that that gives the opponents of health care reform, the insurance lobby, lots of time to kill reform by just concentrating on the details rather than setting an ambitious timeline and doing the work to get a good bill created and get it out.
Sealy rejected Berrys argument that moving quickly could lead to a repeat of the problems that derailed the reform effort of 1994 under the Clinton administration. The current reform effort has stronger public support, he said.
Whats different this time is that, and Congressman Berry knows this, that there is a very, very vigorous movement for health care reform thats coming from the bottom up. We want it done right, but we want it done now, Sealy said.
John Wilson of El Dorado, president of the grassroots group the Conservative Action Project, applauded Ross and Berry for moving to slow the process.
Im very happy with what the Blue Dog Coalition did , to come out and say that theyre not ready to just turn over our health care to the government, he said.
Wilson questioned the need for any reform.
If its not broke, why fix it? Ninety percent of Americans say they are happy with their insurance plan, he said.
Ross and Berry said they support reforming the health care system and were not trying to halt the effort.
We were just, more than anything, trying to get their attention, Berry said.
Ross said health care costs now consume 40 cents of every tax dollar.
At the rate at which health care is growing faster than inflation, thats going to reach 100 percent of every tax dollar by 2040, he said. When people say, Why are we talking about health care reform in the midst of record debts and record deficits, thats the very reason why we are. We can never balance the federal budget again until we get health care costs contained and under control.
John Barrow (GA-12) p: (202) 225-2823, f: (202) 225-3377, email.
Bart Gordon (TN-06) p: (202) 225-4231, f: (202) 225-6887, email.
Baron Hill (IN-09) p: (202) 225-5315, f: (202) 226-6866, email.
Jane Harman (CA-36) p: (202) 225-8220, f: (202) 226-7290, email.
Jim Matheson (UT-02) p: (202) 225-3011, f: (202) 225-5638, email.
Charlie Melancon (LA-03) p: (202) 225-4031, f: (202) 226-3944, email.
Mike Ross (AR-04) p: (202) 225-3772, f: (202) 225-1314, email.
Zack Space (OH-18) p: (202) 225-6265, f: (202) 225-3394, email.
Go to http://lauraingraham.com/
Most Blue-Dog Democrats should be re-named Blue-Ball democrats because they dont use what god gave them.
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