One Vote May Decide Health Care: Rep. Murphy’s

by LonSeidman

Congressman Murphy’s staff is in the DC office and taking your opinion on the bill today. Call them at (202) 225-4476 so they can pass along your opinion before the vote.

In a long anticipated final vote, the House of the US Congress will vote on the 2409 page healthcare bill at noon today. According to the Democratic caucus chair, there will be 216 members of Congress in favor of the bill and 215 who will vote against. Republicans say that Democrats don’t have the “hard number” of votes. That means that any single member can hold the fate of healthcare in the country in their hands today. Even if one of the 231 members doesn’t show up may swing the outcome. Only on Friday Wolcott’s congressman Christopher Murphy of Cheshire annonuced that he will vote in favor of the bill. The bill is th US Senate’s version and already passed that body on Christmas.

Murphy makes this announcment despite acknowledging that constituents are about 50-50 in support and opposition of the bill. Murphy held a series of town hall meetings in the fall of 2009, including two in Waterbury and to an auditorium full of people at Shepaug HS in Washington, CT. All forums had residents of the 5th district holding strong views against the healthcare bill as well as some people currently without healthcare hoping that Congress could change things. One of the main reasons many favor healthcare reform is that pre-existing conditions prevent many from gaining insurance. Many who are opposed to the bill acknowledge that reform is necessary, however the current bill is draconian, and goes far beyond changes that should be much simpler than included in this bill.

One resident directly asked Murphy at the Shepaug forum whether he would vote with his district or according to the Democratic Party. Murphy replied “I will vote with my constituents,” at which the room applauded.


Republicans have argued that simple changes such as allowing insuance companies to sell insurance across state lines would allow for more competition and lower costs. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania agreed with this assessment "One thing's for sure- if we could do this over again, selling insurance across state lines should have been included," he said on the Huckabee program Saturday evening. Another idea to reduce costs is that the government step in only one when a person's financial burden reaches a certain threshold. This would allow

Funding abortion with federal funds, or even funds that come throguh the federal system has been hotly contested. "I'm offering a way to solve this. The arguement is to solve healthcare, but in order to solve it I've offered ways to solve it." says Rep. Stupack of Michigan indicating the adoption of his langauge in the bill would garner more votes and a more solid consensus on the healthcare measure. Stupack ensured that abortions would not be covered under the original bill the House passed in 2009. However, the Senate amended that bill with less regulated language which Stupack and the Catholic Church say allow abortions. Abortion language is on pages 118-126 of the bill. (Can you figure it out?)

Democrats agree that the bill isn't perfect and would require a second bill to correct the bad sections. The Whisper says that we've been working on this since July 2009. Why not fix the imperfections from the outset rather than pass an imperfection? That's like telling a high school student to turn in their rough draft as a final copy for a grade -they can redeem it later, even though you've had 8 months to write it. Kill this bill and start from scratch passing individual and small ideas on their merit. The present bill still contains $100 million for a new UConn health center. The current hospital is rarely ever at capacity as it is whereas many of Connecticut's hospitals have patients waiting for days to get a room when they need to be admitted. In addition, there are plenty of things the Congress can do short of even addressing the abortion issue. What do you think? Call Representative Murphy, then leave a comment below.

Its not too late yet, and anything can happen, even a likely free for all to delay the vote or switch votes. Call Rep. Murphy’s office TODAY to express your opinion: 202-225-4476. His staff is answering the phone and taking tallies to pass on to the representative. E-mail:

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