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Tag: Health care


Brian Baird explains his ‘yes’ vote on health care

As we’ve reported, Congressman Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, has come over to the “yes” column on today’s health care vote.

“On balance, I believe this legislation will be much better than what exists today, I believe it represents a number of improvements in both content and process over the legislation as passed by the House, and, it is the best we are likely to be able to accomplish at the present time.”

Here is his statement, going into considerable detail on the reasons for his vote.

There is no question in my mind that our current health care system cannot be sustained and must be improved. Because of my background as a health care professional, working for more than twenty years before entering Congress, having focused extensively on health care during my time in Congress, as a parent of two young children, and as someone who has listened to countless constituents and groups from across the professional, patient and political spectrum, there is no other issue before Congress that has received as much of my personal attention and effort.

Providing health care is not a political issue for me, it was my chosen profession, it is something I feel deeply about, and it is a service to which I have dedicated much of my life.

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Baird says he will vote yes on health care bill

From reporter Les Blumenthal in the Washington, D.C., bureau:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, says he going to support the health care bill the House is expected to vote on later today.

Baird, along with Democratic Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, were the two undecideds going into the weekend. Smith announced Saturday he too would support the measure.

In a news release sent out this morning, Baird there was “no doubt in my mind that our current system cannot be sustained and must be improved.”

Baird said he had read the entire House and Senate bills, the reconciliation measure,

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Read remarks made by President Obama to Democratic Caucus on health care Saturday

The text of remarks made by President Obama to the Democratic Caucus on the proposed health care legislation. The news release was issued by the White House on Saturday afternoon:


Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium
Washington, D.C.

3:53 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Everybody, please have a set.

To Leader Reid, to Steny Hoyer, John Larson, Xavier Becerra, Jim Clyburn, Chris Van Hollen, to an extraordinary leader and extraordinary Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and to all the members here today, thank you very much for having me. (Applause.) Thanks for having me and thanks for your tireless efforts waged on behalf of health insurance reform in this country.

I have the great pleasure of having a really nice library at the White House. And I was tooling through some of the writings of some previous Presidents and I came upon this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “I am not bound to win, but I’m bound to be true. I’m not bound to succeed, but I’m bound to live up to what light I have.”

This debate has been a difficult debate. This process has been a difficult process. And this year has been a difficult year for the American people. When I was sworn in, we were in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Eight hundred thousand people per month were losing their jobs. Millions of people were losing their health insurance. And the financial system was on the verge of collapse.

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Smith warming to health care, Baird still undecided

More from our D.C. guy, Les Blumenthal:

WASHINGTON – With pressure mounting and a weekend vote likely, Washington Rep. Adam Smith was apparently edging closer to endorsing Democratic health care legislation Thursday.

Smith’s movement came after the Congressional Budget Office said it would cut the federal deficit by $138 billion over 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the following decade if approved.

“I think the CBO numbers are positive,” the Tacoma Democrat said in a statement.

Meanwhile, even after a lengthy Oval Office meeting with President Obama, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, remained undecided.

“Nothing has changed,” said Adam Hudson, a Baird spokesman.

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Conservative pundits take issue with health care poster child Marcelas Owens

Marcelas Owens visits with Patty Murray on a recent D.C. visit.

From Les Blumenthal in D.C.

WASHINGTON – Conservative talk show hosts and columnists are taking issue with an 11-year-old Seattle boy’s account of his mother’s death as a “sob story” exploited by the White House and congressional Democrats like a “kiddie shield” to defend their health care legislation.

Marcelas Owens, whose mother got sick, lost her job, lost her health insurance and died, said Thursday he’s taking the swipes from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin in stride.

“My mother always taught me they can have their own opinion but that doesn’t mean they are right,” Owens, who lives in Seattle, said in an interview.

Owens’ grandmother, Gina, who watched her daughter die, isn’t quite so generous.

“These are adults, and he is an 11-year-old boy who lost his mother,” Gina Owens said. “They should be ashamed.”

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Smith, Baird remain undecided on health care vote

From Les Blumenthal in our D.C. bureau:

WASHINGTON – With a climactic vote on health care legislation expected in the House of Representatives late this week, two Democratic members from Washington state – Adam Smith and Brian Baird – remain undecided on how to vote.

Smith voted for an earlier version of the bill. Baird did not.

As House Democratic leaders and the White House scrambled Monday to secure the 216 votes needed to pass health care legislation, Smith said that while there might be a lot of good things in the measure, “I have not made up my mind.”

Baird, who is not seeking re-election, said he needed to see the actual language in the bill and an accompanying reconciliation bill before he would decide.

“Until I am able to read the new proposal and know the costs, I will not decide on how to vote on passage,” Baird said. “To do so would contradict what I have stood for throughout my congressional career.”

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Gregoire sees ‘common ground’ among governors


WASHINGTON – Gov. Chris Gregoire is headed back home after a National Governors’ Association winter meeting that focused on jobs, the economy and health care. It also included a stop, with the other governors, at the White House for a meeting with President Obama.

Gregoire told reporters before departing Washington, D.C., there was an amazing amount of bipartisan agreement on health care among the governors and she and her colleagues may want to weigh in collectively with Congress and the administration on the issue.

“Some things are not so controversial when you sit

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Adam Smith explains his vote on health care

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma

After earlier sitting on the fence, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith ultimately voted along with fellow Democrats on the health care reform bill that passed the House 220-215 yesterday. In a lengthy statement the Tacoma congressman explained he still had misgivings about the bill, but found enough to like about it to vote for it and hope something better emerges from the legislative process.

Here’s his bottom line:

My vote, in effect, is to move the process forward. This is not the final phase in the process and in the weeks ahead the Senate will vote on its version of the bill and then the House and the Senate must reconcile their differences. I am hopeful that through this process my remaining concerns will be addressed and we can finally move to provide universal access to health care and reform our system in a way that protects individuals and reins in out of control costs. More than anything, my ‘yes’ vote today reflects the fact that, despite my concerns with the current bill, I cannot vote in favor of the status quo.”

Read the entire statement on the jump:

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