Law does not end debate
For many Americans, it’s impossible to ignore the feelings of frustration and anger over the House majority’s misuse of health care reform in order to achieve a partisan victory.
If the president and the Democratic majority in Congress think the public’s disgust is fleeting, they are wrong. If they believe Washington’s dismissal of the views of ordinary Americans will be forgotten, they are also wrong.
Health care is a deeply personal issue. Most people don’t want to be forced into some untested insurance exchange because a politician feels he or she knows what’s best for them, or wants to claim a “historic achievement.”
You cannot achieve great things by disregarding the will of the American people. You cannot expect your efforts to bear fruit if they lack a clear popular mandate.
Many have likened the 219 to 212 House vote to pass the president’s health care bill to the enactment of Social Security and Medicare, many decades ago. In fact, both of those landmark laws enjoyed broad bipartisan support when they passed the U.S. House.
No less than 81 House Republicans voted for the Social Security Act of 1935, and 70 Republicans joined with Democrats to pass Medicare in 1965.
Yet, on the “historic” day of March 21, 2010, the president’s and the speaker’s health care bill garnered not a single Republican vote. Furthermore, 34 Democrats joined with us in standing against the unpopular legislation.
In the end, the health care bill vote carried because of the enormous majority that the Democrat party holds in the House, combined with political threats made against individual Democrat members by their own leadership. That’s hardly a popular mandate.
And let us not forget the speaker was even considering passing her health care bill without a recorded vote. Fortunately, the outcry of the American people convinced her to abandon her plans to cloak the official vote count.
During the weekend of the House vote, it was a moving experience to meet Americans from all over the country who traveled to Capitol Hill seeking the ear of anyone who would listen, to express their heartfelt opposition to a government takeover of health care.
I voted against the $1.2 trillion Democrat health care bill for many reasons. In addition to the fact that it was written without regard to the public’s views, I opposed its job killing tax increases on small businesses. I opposed its $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage, affecting over 170,000 Alabama seniors. I opposed its potentially unconstitutional mandate that all Americans buy insurance. And, I opposed it due to its failure to effectively guard against the federal funding of abortions.