The Online Office of Congressman Mike Michaud

Michaud Statement on Health Care Reform Vote
Saturday, November 07 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Mike Michaud issued the following statement on the pending vote in the House of Representatives on H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. A fact sheet produced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on how this legislation will affect Maine’s second congressional district can be found here. WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Mike Michaud issued the following statement on the pending vote in the House of Representatives on H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. A fact sheet produced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on how this legislation will affect Maine’s second congressional district can be found here.

Today, I will join my colleagues in taking another important step in a journey that began almost a century ago.

After hundreds of meetings, hours of careful consideration, and lots of soul searching, I have decided to lend my support to the historic opportunity that confronts us today. Although I continue to have serious concerns with pieces of the health care reform package, I have decided that being at the table will more effectively advance the interests of the people of Maine than by standing on the sidelines. I will support the bill before the House today because this process must move forward.

Three House committees completed their work and blended those proposals into the bill we’re considering tonight. I have taken the time to read and carefully study all 1,990 pages of the bill and the accompanying amendments.

This bill is not perfect. Since August, I have raised several concerns over this legislation. Most specifically, I remain concerned about parts of the bill that cut Medicare and Medicaid. These cuts would unfairly impact Maine due to our unique situation as having one of the most efficient health care systems in the country, while receiving some of the lowest reimbursement rates for services provided. These concerns were raised by many in Maine, and I have made sure that they have been heard by the highest levels of government in our nation.

This week, I have repeatedly discussed my concerns with the White House and directly with the President. I am pleased that he understood my concerns as they relate to Maine and pledged to work with me to address them in a meaningful way within the context of this bill as it moves forward. I will also redouble my efforts with Senator Snowe to ensure that rural access to health care is protected and strengthened in the State of Maine as both the House and Senate move forward toward a final bill.

Let me be clear. My vote today does not guarantee where I will ultimately come down on the future conference report. But this work is too important to fail, and I could not in good conscience let the perfect be the enemy of the possible.

To those in Maine who have legitimate concerns over the direction of reform – please know that I have heard them and that I will continue to fight to strengthen this legislation. But we cannot allow unfounded fear of death panels and government takeovers of health care derail this important opportunity. These claims were always untrue, and they are untrue today.

We must come together and get the best possible bill passed so that the Mainers I represent not only have more affordable coverage – but coverage that meets their needs. Later tonight, I will say yes to expanding health care coverage to the thousands of small businesses and people in Maine who do not have it and, to those who do, making it more affordable and better. Today, I will say yes to ending the practice of denying coverage due to preexisting conditions
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The Online Office of Congressman Mike Michaud

and other abusive insurance industry abuses.

Being able to get quality health care should never be a question for any American. The bill we passed today is a good step forward. It will help make sure that no American goes broke because they get sick or is ever denied coverage. This is an historic day, but more work lies ahead. I look forward to continuing to work toward meaningful reform that is good for Maine.

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