First, a statement from Congressman Glenn Thompson:
“For the first time in history, the House of Representatives has passed a life-changing measure without a single Republican vote in favor and through legislative sleight of hand. That vote will impact one-sixth of our U.S. economy and affect every man, woman and child in the nation.
“Was the vote because the measure was exactly what the nation needs to fix its health care system? No, the vote seemed to come down to how many arms could be twisted to save the Obama presidency and the speakership of Nancy Pelosi.
“In almost every poll, the majority of Americans didn’t like this bill or the manner in which it was placed before the Congress for a vote.
“I believe we have started down a path of total government takeover of our health care system at a cost of almost $1 trillion now, and untold costs to be paid later in taxes, fines and loss of care. As a health care professional, my evaluation of the measure is that it will decrease access to health care, increase costs, put a bureaucrat between you and your physician and place quality care as an afterthought.
“I fear the impact on our rural hospitals and I fear this measure puts us on a path of no return, which will be spoken about in depressing and critical terms for decades to come.”
Followed by a statment from Congressman Joe Sestak:
“The health care reform we passed today will put an end to insurance industry abuses, extend lifesaving care to millions, strengthen Medicare, and cut the national deficit.
“Health care is the most personal of any public policy. I know it is for me. I decided to run for Congress, after my 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer, with the conviction that all Americans should have access to the lifesaving medical care I was able to provide my family through my U.S. military health care. Today, we’ve taken a major step toward making that a reality.
“Nothing is more intimate or important than our health and the care we receive from our doctors. This reform will cut out the insurance bureaucrats and put life-and-death decisions back where they belong: in the hands of families and doctors. No longer will insurance companies be able to turn record profits by denying care to those who need it most, cutting your coverage the moment you get sick, or hiking your premiums year after year.
“If we had followed the Republican plan of inaction, in 30 years health care costs would have swallowed up a third our economy, driven small companies out of business, and bankrupted untold numbers of American families. By taking on one of the biggest challenges facing our nation, we’re going to cut more than $130 billion from the deficit this decade, and another $1.2 trillion the next. And no longer will you have to pay for the uninsured out of your own pocket. This is a first, major step in tackling the deficit and creating a healthy country and a healthy economy.
“Today, we showed that good policy for the American people can triumph over Washington politics.”