It was a close vote along party lines, but 39 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote against the health care reform bill late Saturday night including Mike McIntyre, even though he believes reform is necessary.
“There is no doubt: Republican, Democrats, Independents agree the current system is not sustainable the way health care costs are, insurance premiums are. My concern is how do we do that. And this bill was not the way to address that,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre says while the bill offered additional coverage, it did nothing to address the climbing costs of health care. “I think the bill was too heavy on the taxpayers and too light on the insurance companies, and we need to be heavy on the insurance companies and light on the taxpayers.”
McIntyre also said he did not like the requirements it put on businesses, especially in the face of a slumping economy and soaring unemployment. He said the bill did not adequately address Medicare reimbursements, which he said are key to bringing more affordable health care in rural areas.
Still, the bill is moving on to the Senate, where at least one Republican said it is dead on arrival. McIntyre agrees. “The Senate has already said that they will not have a public option in their bill, that they can’t get 60 votes in the Senate.”
Many Senate Republicans, like McIntyre and his fellow blue dog Democrats in the House, are also worried about the plan adding to the national debt.
If the Senate votes down the reforms, McIntyre says the issue will not dominate the debate in Congress as it has for months. Instead, he says it will still be a focus for members as they also move on to other important issues.
Health care reform will be at the forefront for a while longer. McIntyre says he does not expect a vote from the Senate until after Christmas.