(Chuck Muth) – The first stage of a full-blown government take-over of the nation’s health care system passed in the United States House of Representatives 220-215 late Saturday night.
Only one Republican, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.) voted for the bill (H.R. 3962) which experts say will cost Americans over a trillion dollars. Cao cast his vote in favor of the bill only after it obtained the 218 Democrat votes it needed for passage – thus Cao denied the GOP a unanimous vote in opposition by casting an unneeded vote.
In a statement issued by his office after the vote, Cao explained that the White House had bought off his vote earlier in the day.
“Today, I obtained a commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana,” Cao wrote, “including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals.”
Of Nevada’s three House representatives, only Congressman Dean Heller (R) voted against H.R. 3962. Congresswomen Shelley Berkley (D) and Dina Titus (D) both voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in favor of the bill.
“Tonight, Rep. Dina Titus voted to turn one-sixth of the U.S. economy over to government bureaucrats,” said Jahan Wilcox, spokesman for the Republican National Committee. “A vote for the Obama-Pelosi health care bill means higher taxes on Nevada families and small businesses, cuts to Medicare for Nevada’s seniors, and an increase in premiums when Nevada families go to the doctor.
“Rep. Titus has pulled the classic Washington move,” Wilcox continued, noting that Titus had earlier expressed opposition to the bill. “She says one thing to her constituents, but when she is back in Washington, she votes against their interests.”
Heller issued the following statement after the vote:
“Today America is less free. Granting massive government intrusion into individuals healthcare choices will ultimately lead to fewer choices for Americans. This bill needlessly expands the federal government, raises taxes on small businesses, cuts benefits to seniors, and imposes criminal penalties on Americans who don’t purchase bureaucrat-approved health insurance.
“As Nevadans struggle and our nation is experiencing high unemployment, the House passed a bill is expected to destroy 5 million jobs. Massive government expansion and higher taxes is not the reform our nation needs. There is a reason why members of Congress have excluded themselves from this bill.”
Heller offered three amendments to House Rules Committee for consideration. The Heller amendments would have required enforceable citizenship verification measures, mandated that Members of Congress participate in the government-run health plan created by the bill, included medical liability reform, debt forgiveness for doctors who practice in underserved communities, and encouraged prescription drug reimportation.
However, the majority party allowed none of the amendments to proceed for floor consideration.
The bill now moves over to the Senate and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), where prospects of passage appear much more dicey. Indeed, passage in the House was considered to be the “easy” part for Democrats, and they only barely got it done by two votes.