PARKERSBURG - A health care reform bill passed by the House of Representatives will raise taxes and insurance premiums and cut billions from Medicare, said West Virginia's Republican congressman who voted against the landmark legislation Saturday night.
Calling it House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 2,000-page trillion-dollar health reform plan, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito said the speaker and the Democrats refused bipartisan cooperation on a health care bill.
"Legislation that touches every single American and would reform nearly one-sixth of our economy demands transparency and consensus," Capito said. "Unfortunately, the Speaker and our friends on the other side of the aisle chose to openly reject any semblance of bipartisanship in favor of a bill that will cost well over a trillion dollars, raise taxes on job-creating small businesses and cut nearly $400 billion from Medicare and Medicaid."
Capito said the plan will cut home health care by $56 billion and imposes a $143 billion across-the-board cut to Medicare providers.
"By gutting Medicare Advantage the speaker's bill blatantly breaks the President's promise that if you like your current plan you can keep it," she said.
The bill passed late Saturday night 220 to 215 along mostly a partisan vote with only one Republican voting in favor. West Virginia Reps. Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall, Democrats, voted in favor and Capito voted against the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
"This legislation would give all of our citizens access to affordable health care, contain escalating health care costs that threaten our economic recovery, and improve Medicare prescription drug benefits for our seniors," Mollohan said.
The bill prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions and placing annual or lifetime limits on benefits. It creates more choices in health care coverage from private carriers and a public option unavailable to those who are covered by an an employer's plan.
"Seniors who have fallen into the prescription drug donut hole will see a reduction in their out-of-pocket expenses," he said. "Additionally, this legislation will shore up the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund."
Small business would benefit from the national insurance marketplace created by the bill by comparison shopping for the best prices, he said. A tax credit will be available to business to help them provide insurance, he said.
Without a provision prohibiting the federal funding for abortions, how several dozen Democrats would vote was in doubt, Mollohan said. Mollohan said he obtained the signatures of 28 members who wanted the provision and the House leadership relented and allowed a vote on the amendment that passed 240-194.
Also voting for the bill was Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Ohio, who represents Washington County.
"I have long-said I would support a plan that brought stability and security to the health care system, lowered the cost of health care, and insured broader coverage, without increasing our deficit," Wilson said.