Reaction to Senate passage of health care bill

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 24, 2009 9:34 AM

Remarks on the Senate's passage of health care legislation Thursday:

"We are now finally poised to deliver on the promise of real, meaningful health insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the American people. ... This will be the most important piece of social legislation since Social Security passed in the 1930s." _ President Barack Obama.

"It is about people. It's about life and death in America. It's a question of morality, of right and wrong. It's about human suffering. And given the chance to relieve this suffering, we must take it." _ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

"We stand with the millions of American families who have been forced into bankruptcy to cover the cost of caring for a loved one who is sick. We stand on behalf of the 45,000 Americans who die each year simply because they do not have health insurance and the millions more who live in fear." _ Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.

"This debate was supposed to produce a bill that reformed health care in America. Instead, we're left with party-line votes in the middle of the night, a couple of sweetheart deals to get it over the finish line, and a public that's outraged." _ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"We will soon produce a final bill that is founded on the core principles of health insurance reform: affordability for the middle class, security for our seniors, responsibility to our children by reducing the deficit, and accountability for the insurance industry. I look forward to working with members of the House, the Senate and President Obama to reconcile our bills and send the final legislation to the president's desk as soon as possible." _ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"Not even Ebenezer Scrooge himself could devise a scheme as cruel and greedy as Democrats' government takeover of health care. Sen. Reid's health care bill increases premiums for families and small businesses, raises taxes during a recession, cuts seniors' Medicare benefits, adds to our skyrocketing debt, and puts bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors." _ House Minority Leader John Boehner, D-Ohio.

"The Senate health care bill is far from perfect. I am deeply disappointed it does not include a public option to help keep down costs, and I also don't like the dealmaking that secured votes with unjustifiable provisions. I will work to improve the bill, including restoring the public option, when the final version is drafted." _ Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.

"The bill passed by the Senate makes needed progress to prevent coverage denials due to health status and limit insurance companies from charging older Americans much more for coverage because of their age. It also begins to close the dangerous gap in Medicare drug coverage known as the doughnut hole, and Senate leaders have committed that a final bill will close the gap entirely by 2019, in keeping with the president's pledge." _ AARP Chief Executive A. Barry Rand.

"Specific provisions in this legislation will increase, rather than decrease, health care costs, reduce coverage options and disrupt existing coverage for families, seniors and small businesses." _ Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of America's Health Insurance Plans.

"What we asked for and what Congress promised was a plan that would bring costs under control and make health care more accessible by making it more affordable. What we received are employer mandates and other provisions that will drive up costs that are already far too high and that will endanger the employer-provided health insurance system that millions of American families depend on." _ National Retail Federation Vice President Neil Trautwein.

"It makes no sense to tax the benefits of hardworking Americans to pay for health reform. The House bill curbs insurance companies and taxes the wealthy who benefited so richly from the Bush tax cuts. The Senate bill instead includes exorbitant new taxes on middle class health benefits that would affect one in five workers with employer-provided health coverage _ or about 31 million people _ in 2016. That's the wrong way to pay for health care reform and it's political suicide." _ AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

"This bill lays the groundwork to expand coverage to the uninsured, place an increased emphasis on preventing disease and improve the delivery of care _ all measures that will enable us to reduce soaring health care costs and relieve the stress and anxiety of patients who have run out of options in securing quality and affordable health care." _ American Heart Association Chief Executive Nancy Brown.

"As we move forward, America can look forward to watching Nancy Pelosi conduct the arm-twisting needed to convince her most liberal colleagues that the Senate version is the best Trojan horse possible to hide a true single-payer system, which is what this debate has always been about. This Christmas, the Democrats and President Obama have given America the one gift that keeps on taking." _ Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.