Why I voted yes on the bill

Mar 222010
Authors: Congresswoman Betsy Markey

Before I was a public servant, I was a small business owner, keeping the books in the Web development firm my husband and I started together.  I crunched numbers, evaluated costs and always looked for solutions that combined good budgeting with good management.

Every time we made a major business decision, we evaluated that decision on its own merit.

That was the approach I brought to Congress a year and a half ago –– weigh costs with results and make decisions based on the facts, not politics.

I know this has angered people on the left as well as the right.  Frankly, I take that as a sign that I am doing my job.
Last fall, I voted against the House version of health care reform.  I had many issues with the legislation, but I simply felt it did not do enough to contain costs –– a concern I repeatedly voiced to House leadership and the Administration.  

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the compromise measure the House passed Sunday costs $940 billion, more than $100 billion less than the bill passed by the House in November. It reduces the deficit by more than $1.3 trillion in the next two decades. It will be the single largest deficit reduction bill in 27 years. 
I support this compromise health care bill.

There are things that this bill does immediately that I could not, in good conscience, oppose: It ends denial of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and prevents health insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.

It allows people who are 26 and younger to stay on their parents’ health care plans.  As the mother of three children under the age of 26, that is an important issue for me.

I felt that the House bill did not do enough to help small business. This compromise legislation offers immediate tax credits for small businesses that offer their employees health care coverage –– almost 19,000 businesses in the fourth congressional district alone will benefit. 

It closes the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D, which will lead to lower drug costs for seniors and guarantees that Medicare benefits will not be cut, all by saving money from within the Medicare program by weeding out waste, fraud and abuse.

Additionally, more than 30 million new people will benefit from health insurance coverage within the next 10 years. Out of pocket costs for premiums and medical expenses will finally be made affordable for individuals and families. There are strong private health insurance options covered by this bill, with state exchanges and more benefit plan options.

Quite simply, this was a better bill than the legislation the House passed last fall –– it does more to contain costs while providing increased health insurance coverage. 

This may come as a shock to some people, particularly some of the folks that are running against me in November, but not every decision you make in Congress should be guided by a political compass. 

If you are too busy worrying about how to climb the political ladder and don’t spend enough time evaluating legislation on its merits, you may end up a great politician.  But you will be a lousy representative.

I’d rather be a good representative and leave the politics to the politicians.

Congresswoman Betsy Markey represents Colorado district 4, which includes CSU, in the U.S. Congress. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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