Official and Unofficial New Jersey Reactions to Health Care Reform

The picture of #hcr passing on TwitpicThe House has just approved the Senate bill 219-212 (roll call), but as we wait for the House to act on the Reconciliation Bill, we will start to post (excerpts of) official reactions as they come in. Feel free to share your own reaction and responses. I understand President Obama will make a short statement later tonight and I have embedded the player after the jump, or you can go to White House Live.

Rush Holt put out a statement:

“For me, the debate about health insurance reform always has been about the families who struggle to secure the coverage they need. It’s about the small business owners who face rising premiums. It’s about the seniors who can’t pay for their prescription drugs,” Holt said.  “In supporting reform of our broken health insurance system, I stand with the families, seniors, and small businesses who I represent and who will soon have greater control over their health care.”

“Health care reform has been a long time coming – almost 100 years in the making. Yet, as soon as the President signs this into law, benefits will be felt immediately,” Holt said. “Small businesses will be able to receive tax credits to purchase insurance, insurance companies will be banned from dropping coverage when someone gets sick, and seniors confronting the ‘donut hole’ will receive $250 to pay for prescription drugs.”

Frank Pallone:

        “The history of failed attempts at health care reform reaches back decades,” said Pallone. “But more important than the historical achievement  is what the reformed system will do for everyday Americans. We aren’t just making history, we are making a better health care system.”    

   “Our health care system is in crisis, millions of Americans are going without insurance, and rising health care costs are bankrupting many American families, said Pallone. “The reform bill will stop insurance company abuses, lower health care costs and give almost all Americans quality health care coverage, the same as members of congress.”

Bob Menendez:

“From the beginning, we approached this historic legislation with one simple truth in mind: good, affordable health insurance should be a right, not a privilege for the wealthy. The health of American families should never be viewed simply as a commodity used to maximize profits. Yet, millions of families struggle every single day with health insurance that is unaffordable, unreliable or unavailable. Today, we have accomplished insurance reforms sought for generations that will protect the health and economic security of our families and our nation in three main categories.

President Obama’s remarks to the nation:

Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, after nearly 100 years of talk and frustration, after decades of trying, and a year of sustained effort and debate, the United States Congress finally declared that America’s workers and America’s families and America’s small businesses deserve the security of knowing that here, in this country, neither illness nor accident should endanger the dreams they’ve worked a lifetime to achieve. (continued in full, in Comments)


Player removed.

Ed Potosnak (Congressional Candidate NJ-7):

“Last night’s House vote on health insurance reform represents a major and historic step toward making sure all Americans have equal access to health care. I am pleased with what this deficit-reducing legislation does for the 7th District of New Jersey, including keeping health care costs under control for our families and providing expanded benefits for seniors on Medicare.”

Potosnak cited a recent report issued by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which indicated that in the 7th District alone, the legislation would improve Medicare for 96,000 beneficiaries, close the “donut hole”, guarantee health insurance coverage for 5,900 residents with pre-existing conditions, and help small businesses afford coverage for employees.

Pointing to the bill’s ability to reduce the federal deficit by over $143 billion over the next 10 years, Potosnak said:

“I am disappointed to see that Leonard Lance has continued to side with the Republican leadership and insurance companies. Sixty percent of Rep. Lance’s campaign contributions come from special interests like big banks and the insurance industry, and today we have seen yet another reason why a career politician like Leonard Lance is not providing the leadership the 7th District needs.”

Comments (14)

  1. Hopeful (Post author)

    I’m very happy. I too wanted a public option, but I and my relatives have had private insurance and we’ve done well by it.  

  2. Hopeful (Post author)

    Not exactly a surprise, but while Obama can sign the “Senate Bill” immediately, the Senate will have to act on the reconcilation bill. The rest…

    First, we will finally have common sense rules that will protect families from insurance company bureaucrats who deny claims or deny coverage to protect a corporate bottom line. Second, we are finally helping regular, hard-working families, seniors and small businesses to better afford health insurance, including the greatest middle class health care tax relief in history. Third, we are finally providing quality and affordable coverage through insurance choice and competition for 30 million Americans who have been laid off or aren’t offered insurance by their employer. What this means for the nation is a significant reduction in the budget deficit, as estimated by the impartial, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. In the Senate, we are preparing to act on modifications to the law that will make insurance even more affordable for more middle class families, and I look forward to fully completing health insurance reform with those provisions.

    “Year after year, health insurance costs have gone up, coverage for medical treatment has been denied and emergency care for the uninsured has saddled governments with debt. All along, despite presidents and Congresses hoping to reform the health insurance system, the insurance lobby and its allies have spent many millions of dollars to deny it. This effort did not begin last year, it began decades ago.  Recently, special interests and their loyalists flooded the airwaves with more fear and fabrication than ever. But today, we can finally say that we have overcome the fearmongering and fabrications to deliver the peace of mind that comes with knowing your health insurance will be there when you need it the most.”

  3. Jason Springer

    From his latest piece on the role of NJ House members in the healthcare process:

    Adler says his concern is the cost of this reform, not his career. He claims he hasn’t even thought about the impact his vote will have on the November election, and he manages to keep a straight face while he says so.

  4. Rosi Efthim
  5. ken bank

    If it hadn’t passed we would have endured the next few years listening to Steve Lonegan taking credit for single-handedly stopping HCR by intimidating John Adler and other congressmen into voting no.

  6. Hopeful (Post author)

    We are extremely proud of Congressmen Rothman, Pascrell, Sires, Payne, Pallone, Holt and Andrews  for demonstrating courage and leadership by doing the right thing and voting ‘yes’ on health care reform.  This is an historic moment for New Jersey and for America , and these Representatives have proved they are on our side by listening to the people of their districts and not the corporate lobbyists and big insurance companies. Thanks to their “yes” votes, we can now look forward to the security of good health care at a price we can afford and not have to worry about being denied care or going bankrupt trying to pay for the care we need.

    On the other hand and by voting against comprehensive health care reform in the U.S. House of Representatives, Adler, Garrett, Frelinghuysen, Lance, Smith & LoBiondo sent a clear message that they are more interested in working for the corporate lobbyists and special interests than for the people of their districts.  Representatives Adler, Garrett, Frelinghuysen, Lance, Smith & LoBiondo should be ashamed of themselves.  We should not have to worry that we are just one accident or illness away from going bankrupt. We should have the peace of mind that comes from knowing we can see a doctor when we get sick and our health care coverage is not going to be taken away from us when we need it most. It’s a travesty that Congressmen Adler, Garrett, Frelinghuysen, Lance, Smith and LoBiondo have good, affordable health care for themselves and their families but think its okay to deny us the same. Their vote against reform will not be forgotten. Now we know whose side they are really on.

  7. Bill Orr

    The final irony was when some one with Tea Party intelligence shouted out, “Baby Killer” to Bart Stupak who first threatened to derail the bill if he did not get his way, and at the last moment argued against recommitting the bill. What a wild ride.  

    But in the midst of all the drama, tension, process, arguing, fear, and hope,

    let’s pause for a moment

    and savor this wonderful, historic occasion.  

  8. nsodano

    the last few years have taught me to be more tolerant of Democrats who seem, well, like Republicans in some ways.

      And while I can say with confidence that Joe Lieberman, supporter of McCain, should be a target for defeat… I wonder about Adler.   He says the healthcare Law doesnt cut costs enough but ignores the fact that status quo is killing the “small businesses” he always seems to be talking about.

    Can somebody please enlighten me on this issue?  Why should I support Adler this fall?

  9. Jason Springer

    it’s back up, but people were complaining on Scott Garrett’s facebook wall that the webpage was down. Here is a screenshot

  10. carolh

    I love the Democratic Congress members from NJ!  Congressman Pascrell, you made my night!  Congressman Pallone – you are an angel.  Rob Andrews – amazing, amazing.

    Thank you for helping ease the pain of knowing my Congressman is Scott Garrett.  I feel like you really speak for those of us in the 5th District without a voice in Congress.

    As one of those folks who had to declare bankruptcy so many years ago after a major hospital stay when I was self-employed, I can safely say you have just saved so many people from the same fate I suffered.  

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙂  

  11. Rosi Efthim

    The president, Vice-President, and senior staff in the Roosevelt Room tonight:

    Obama reacts to health care vote

  12. Rosi Efthim

    Full remarks of the President, 11:47p.m. tonight, from the East Room, televised:

    Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, after nearly 100 years of talk and frustration, after decades of trying, and a year of sustained effort and debate, the United States Congress finally declared that America’s workers and America’s families and America’s small businesses deserve the security of knowing that here, in this country, neither illness nor accident should endanger the dreams they’ve worked a lifetime to achieve.

        Tonight, at a time when the pundits said it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics.  We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests.  We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear.  Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things and tackling our biggest challenges.  We proved that this government — a government of the people and by the people — still works for the people.

         I want to thank every member of Congress who stood up tonight with courage and conviction to make health care reform a reality.  And I know this wasn’t an easy vote for a lot of people.  But it was the right vote.  I want to thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her extraordinary leadership, and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn for their commitment to getting the job done.  I want to thank my outstanding Vice President, Joe Biden, and my wonderful Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, for their fantastic work on this issue.  I want to thank the many staffers in Congress, and my own incredible staff in the White House, who have worked tirelessly over the past year with Americans of all walks of life to forge a reform package finally worthy of the people we were sent here to serve.

        Today’s vote answers the dreams of so many who have fought for this reform.  To every unsung American who took the time to sit down and write a letter or type out an e-mail hoping your voice would be heard — it has been heard tonight.  To the untold numbers who knocked on doors and made phone calls, who organized and mobilized out of a firm conviction that change in this country comes not from the top down, but from the bottom up — let me reaffirm that conviction:  This moment is possible because of you.

        Most importantly, today’s vote answers the prayers of every American who has hoped deeply for something to be done about a health care system that works for insurance companies, but not for ordinary people.  For most Americans, this debate has never been about abstractions, the fight between right and left, Republican and Democrat — it’s always been about something far more personal.  It’s about every American who knows the shock of opening an envelope to see that their premiums just shot up again when times are already tough enough.  It’s about every parent who knows the desperation of trying to cover a child with a chronic illness only to be told “no” again and again and again.  It’s about every small business owner forced to choose between insuring employees and staying open for business.  They are why we committed ourselves to this cause.

        Tonight’s vote is not a victory for any one party — it’s a victory for them.  It’s a victory for the American people.  And it’s a victory for common sense.

        Now, it probably goes without saying that tonight’s vote will give rise to a frenzy of instant analysis.  There will be tallies of Washington winners and losers, predictions about what it means for Democrats and Republicans, for my poll numbers, for my administration.  But long after the debate fades away and the prognostication fades away and the dust settles, what will remain standing is not the government-run system some feared, or the status quo that serves the interests of the insurance industry, but a health care system that incorporates ideas from both parties — a system that works better for the American people.

        If you have health insurance, this reform just gave you more control by reining in the worst excesses and abuses of the insurance industry with some of the toughest consumer protections this country has ever known — so that you are actually getting what you pay for.

        If you don’t have insurance, this reform gives you a chance to be a part of a big purchasing pool that will give you choice and competition and cheaper prices for insurance.  And it includes the largest health care tax cut for working families and small businesses in history — so that if you lose your job and you change jobs, start that new business, you’ll finally be able to purchase quality, affordable care and the security and peace of mind that comes with it.

        This reform is the right thing to do for our seniors.  It makes Medicare stronger and more solvent, extending its life by almost a decade.  And it’s the right thing to do for our future.  It will reduce our deficit by more than $100 billion over the next decade, and more than $1 trillion in the decade after that.

        So this isn’t radical reform.  But it is major reform.  This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system.  But it moves us decisively in the right direction.  This is what change looks like.

        Now as momentous as this day is, it’s not the end of this journey.  On Tuesday, the Senate will take up revisions to this legislation that the House has embraced, and these are revisions that have strengthened this law and removed provisions that had no place in it.  Some have predicted another siege of parliamentary maneuvering in order to delay adoption of these improvements.  I hope that’s not the case.  It’s time to bring this debate to a close and begin the hard work of implementing this reform properly on behalf of the American people.  This year, and in years to come, we have a solemn responsibility to do it right.

        Nor does this day represent the end of the work that faces our country.  The work of revitalizing our economy goes on.  The work of promoting private sector job creation goes on.  The work of putting American families’ dreams back within reach goes on.  And we march on, with renewed confidence, energized by this victory on their behalf.

        In the end, what this day represents is another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the American Dream.  Tonight, we answered the call of history as so many generations of Americans have before us.  When faced with crisis, we did not shrink from our challenge — we overcame it.  We did not avoid our responsibility — we embraced it.  We did not fear our future — we shaped it.

        Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.


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