MacIver News Service – When the final vote tallies came in Sunday night on health care reform, every Wisconsin Democrat voted for the bills and every Wisconsin Republican voted against them.
The House of Representative voted 219-212 for the passage of the Senate version of the bill, and then 220-211 for the passage of the reconciliation bill which made significant changes to the Senate Bill they had just passed.
Most Wisconsin representatives made their positions clear long before the final roll call. However, Representatives Ron Kind (D-3rd) and Steve Kagen (D-8th) said they were both undecided throughout last week. They both had voted for the house bill in November, and, in the end, choose to vote for the Senate bill too.
“Americans may now have peace of mind,” said Kagen. “With tonight’s vote, no longer will a child’s accident or illness cause their family to go broke and lose their home. Senior citizens will see a stronger and better Medicare and the prescription drug program’s donut hole begin to close. Small business owners will soon be able to buy health care coverage for themselves and their employees at the same discounts as big corporations.”
Congressman Kind echoed those sentiments.
“People across the district have shared with me their concerns with our current health care system,” said Kind. “Our economy continues to suffer as Wisconsin families fall further into debt due to rising health care costs. Comprehensive health care reform could not wait.”
“Health care reform offers stability and security to families who are satisfied with their health insurance and provides choices for those who aren’t. It provides increased access to stable care that is affordable for individuals, families, and businesses and ensures we reward the providers who are delivering the highest quality of care. Reform ensures the sustainability of our health care system and guarantees we do not leave a legacy of debt to our children.”
Rep. Tammy Baldwin was an early and avid supporter of President Obama’s efforts.
“I have worked my entire career to achieve health care for all,” said Baldwin.??”As I looked across the well of the House, I saw so many of my colleagues tearing up because, like me, they sensed the moment and the history of this vote. I was also remembering the faces of people who have come up to me, often also in tears, and confided in me about their own experiences in our broken health care system …I thought about all those faces and that tonight, with this vote, we have finally stepped forward and responded to these pleas for help.”
Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore also had praise for the bill.
s vote caps off more than a year of debate and makes good on our promise to deliver health insurance reform for the American people,” said Moore. “Every day people are denied coverage or kicked off insurance. This means life and death; this means bankruptcy; this means higher costs for everyone. This bill changes that.”
Wisconsin’s Republicans in Congress do not agree.
“I am saddened that our children and grandchildren will be strapped with the burden of paying for this law,” said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-5th). “I question how this law will cost our nation in the long run. I fear what another government entitlement program will do to our nation. We can only have more people riding in the cart than pulling the cart for so long.”
Janesville Republican Paul Ryan had one of the more passionate speeches and managed part of the floor debate for the GOP.
“The government-knows-best philosophy advanced on the floor by the Majority today is paternalistic, arrogant, and at odds with our nation’s unique character,” said Ryan “We are fast approaching a tipping point in which more Americans depend on the government than on themselves for their livelihoods –
a point where, we, the American people trade in our commitment and concern for our individual liberties in exchange for government benefits.”
President Obama is expected to sign the measure on Tuesday. Ryan said that this does not put the issue to rest, however.
“This fight will continue,” said Ryan. “Despite what happened here tonight, the fight to reapply our founding principles is not finished; it’s just a steeper climb. And it’s a climb we will make.”
See this video report for more: