Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NY Reps Sitting on Health Care Fence: Tell Them to Kill the Bill

In the competition for most "progressive" state, New York is definitely a contender. In terms of carrying heavy tax burdens, New York residents are nearly at the top in the world. ACORN (whatever its name is these days) has its own political party on the ballot, and a vote for a candidate of that party, the Working Families Party, automatically goes to the Democrat candidate. In significant sections of New York City, Obama won by over 99% of the vote. New York State's senior senator, Chuckie Schumer, is largely recognized as one of Obama's biggest hand puppets, and the junior senator, Kirstin Gillibrand, was appointed by the Democrat governor to fill the seat abandoned by Hillary Clinton when she became secretary of state.

Those are a few reasons why it is interesting to note that large swaths of the state are represented by Congressmen who are considered possible swing votes in the current battle for our nation's future health. Much of the state is rural and, in these areas, Obama is not exactly popular. Even in the state capitol, Albany, his name evokes considerable grumbling. On the state's liberal campuses, where Obama's election inspired dancing in the streets, Obama's name eerily goes unmentioned by most faculty and staff.

All this has not escaped the attention of the state's politicians, who are beating the ObamaCare drum slowly these days. Nevertheless, being politicians, they are by definition people who are good at getting what they want, and New York's ObamaCare potential swing voters are on record as having wanted ObamaCare very badly in the past.

I'll focus on three of them today, and I hope you'll find the time to give them a call or send them an email telling them to vote No on the Senate bill. If New York Congressmen can be convinced to abandon ObamaCare, the message will reverberate powerfully throughout Congress.

Congressman Mike Arcuri represents NY's 24th Congressional district, which includes Utica, Auburn, Rome, and most of the suburbs of Binghamton. A liberal's liberal, he's been backing Pelosi with his votes all the way, and he gave a big thumbs up to the House version of the ObamaCare bill. Now his staff says that he is opposed to the Senate bill.

Mike Arcuri's Phone: Washington (202) 225-3665; Local (315) 793-8146

Bill Owens (NY-23, near the Canadian border) is the guy who narrowly defeated Doug Hoffman in an attention-grabbing special election last fall when Hoffman seemingly appeared out of nowhere and rapidly gained popularity as an opponent to ObamaCare. Owens was seated just one day before the House vote, and he provided one of the five deciding yes votes that carried ObamaCare in the House. Hoffman has announced that he will run against Owens again. Owens reportedly is "undecided pending the final language of the bill":
My concerns at this point really go to issues related to making sure we cover as many people as possible, you know the Senate bill reduced the number that the House bill covered, there's some concern about taxing health care benefits, there's been some modifications made, but I haven't seen the final language of the bill.  
Bill Owens' Phone: Washington (202) 225-4611; local (315) 782-3150

Tim Bishop (NY-1, Long Island) actually went on record as opposing the Senate bill in a January letter to Nancy Pelosi in which he stated: "If the Senate bill does come to the floor for a vote, I will have no choice but to vote no." His reasons, back then:
The Senate bill is, in my judgment, flawed in several fundamental respects; I will cite two.

One, the excise tax on so-called “Cadillac plans” would subject a number of my constituents to this tax, including a great many who have foregone salary increases for stronger benefits. Further, the fact that it is not properly indexed will subject even more people to the tax in years to come.

Second, and as important, the Senate provision relating to FMAP[*] would represent for New York a $5 billion swing; the House provisions with respect to FMAP would save New York $4 billion a year, while the Senate provisions would add $1 billion annually to New York’s yearly Medicaid expenses.
*[The Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAPs) are used in determining the amount of Federal matching funds for State expenditures for assistance payments for certain social services, and State medical and medical insurance expenditures.]

Tim Bishop's Phone: Washington (202) 225-3826; Local (631) 696-6500

Take the time to call. Think of it as an investment in future time. If ObamaCare passes, you'll be spending a lot more time in your doctor's waiting room, that's if your doctor doesn't close up shop.


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  1. Excellent post, what a great idea to shine a spotlight on the supposed "fence sitters." We can't turn up the pressure on these guys enough.

  2. Thanks!

    Yes, we have to keep after these jokers. Today's post is about two more NY fence sitters.