Tuesday, December 29, 2009
After sending numerous emails over the past couple of months asking Sen. Nelson to vote 'nay' on this congressional shit sandwich, I received this reply just today.
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you on this critical issue.
On December 24, 2009, I voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), H.R. 3590, which passed the Senate by a vote of 60-39. I did everything in my power to make significant improvements to this health reform bill. The product of weeks of negotiation, the PPACA contains many changes which will benefit Nebraskans and all Americans now and well into the future.
I made it my goal to prevent any government-run insurance program from being established and ensure that the new coverage offered is built upon the private system we have today. In fact, I worked to ensure that this bill will:
o Not allow a single taxpayer penny to be spent for abortion coverage.
The bill requires that health plans receiving federal subsidies and offering abortion coverage collect separate premiums for the procedure from customers, and keep the money in a separate account segregated from federal funds. I also fought to ensure that abortion-free insurance coverage options are available to all consumers; to provide grants to pregnant teens and college students to help them stay in school; and to extend and increase the adoption tax credit. With these provisions, this bill will not only prohibit federal funding for abortion, but work to greatly reduce the number of abortions performed.
o Reduce the federal deficit by $134 billion by 2019, and by as much as $1.3 trillion by 2029.
o Extend the solvency of the Medicare program by an additional nine years, to 2026.
o Narrow the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole" coverage gap for Medicare beneficiaries.
o Provide affordable coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans, and stop the current shift of uncompensated care costs to those of us with insurance coverage.
o Reform insurance practices to end denials for pre-existing conditions, ban lifetime and annual limits, and require insurance companies to pay out, at a minimum, 80 cents in medical care for every dollar they receive.
o Control health care costs well into the future, while improving quality and access.
As stated before, I sought to make improvements to this bill to ensure that the final plan provides Americans with reliable and secure health care at all stages of their lives. I would not allow the government to take steps toward a single-payer, nationalized health care system; and on all these critical components, we were successful.
An important part of my decision was the fact that had this bill not been approved with my vote, the alternative for the Senate leadership was to use a procedure called "Budget Reconciliation." This procedure would have enabled passage of a much less conservative bill, requiring only 51 votes in the Senate. I supported this bill for two reasons: first, because the reconciliation alternative would have included a government-run plan and would not have been as beneficial for Nebraskans; and second, because it will deliver relief from rising health care costs to Nebraska families, workers, rural communities, and employers. This bill takes a market-based approach, offering tax credits for middle-class Americans to help make insurance more affordable; and it improves the delivery of health care for all of us while reducing the deficit.
I have posted links to the legislation, as well as other resources pertaining to the current health care reform debate, on the Health Reform feature on my website at:
I hope you find this information useful.
As you may know, when Congress reconvenes in January after the winter recess, both chambers' health care reform bills will be brought together in conference committee, undergoing further deliberation and compromise to generate a final piece of legislation to be approved by the Senate and House of Representatives. I will fully examine the merged bill upon its completion; and when it comes time to cast a final vote, I will only support a bill if it will work for Nebraskans.
I am truly thankful that so many Nebraskans such as yourself have shared their opinions and ideas with me on this crucial matter. Rest assured I will keep them in mind as Congress needs the input of all Americans to resolve such an important issue.
Sen. Nelson, I am sorry, but it's too little, too late. Your word means nothing to me at this point, and I will do everything I can to make sure you go down in defeat, should you decide to run again.
You have made the State of Nebraska a national joke by your deal with Harry Reid, and I for one will not forget.