Reactions show divisions remain after Senate health care vote

McClatchy NewspapersDecember 24, 2009 

These are some of the comments made after the Senate's approval Thursday morning of a health care overhaul bill.

Bruce Josten, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president : "The business community has been consistent in calling for health care reform, but the bill that was passed by the Senate today is counterproductive, does little to lower the cost of health care and it is not reform. It implements crippling new taxes, and hurts our ability to create jobs at the worst possible time for the economy."

Richard Kirsch, Health Care for America Now national campaign manager: “With passage by the Senate, the nation has moved one big step closer to comprehensive health care reform. To realize the promise of reform, we need . . . the choice of a public health insurance option.”

Karen Ignagni, America’s Health Insurance Plans president and CEO: “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.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “Despite doing some good things, the Senate bill remains inadequate. Substantial changes must be made in the final bill. . . . The House bill is the right model for reform. It covers more people, takes effect more quickly and is financed more fairly.”

AARP CEO Barry Rand: "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.”

President Barack Obama: "With today’s vote, we are now incredibly close to making health insurance reform a reality in this country. These are not small reforms. These are big reforms.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: “We may not completely cure this crisis today or tomorrow, but we must start toward that end. We must strive for progress, and not surrender for want of purity. Our charge is to move forward.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “This fight isn’t over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law.”

Nancy Northup, Center for Reproductive Rights president: The House and Senate bills "threaten to strip millions of women of their abortion coverage and stigmatize a constitutionally protected medical procedure.”

Michael Steele, Republican National Committee chairman: “The Democrats have put a $2.5 trillion lump of coal in the stocking of every American knowing that their risky health care experiment still increases premiums, still cuts Medicare and still enacts hundreds of billions of new taxes to pay for it. Scrooge would be proud.”

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.: “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 deal making that secured votes with unjustifiable provisions. . . . The bill still delivers meaningful reform, and the cost of inaction is simply too high.”

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