House Members Consider Where Others Stand In Health Reform Debate
As the House Democratic leadership continues to work toward moving a health overhaul measure to the floor, members continue to stake out positions - sometimes because of their personal histories or where they are from. In a few cases, the positions they have taken lead to increased attention.
Democrats in the House represent the poorest and richest parts of the country, according to an analysis from USA Today and reported in CBS News. "The liberal wing of the party is emphasizing reforms like the expansion of Medicaid -- the federal program that insures low-income Americans -- which should come as no surprise, given that Democrats represent nine of the 10 districts with the lowest levels of health coverage, according to the analysis from USA Today. Moderate Democrats, however, are fighting back against tax increases on the rich to pay for those reforms. Some of those Democrats represent the nation's wealthiest districts" (Condon, 10/14).
Roll Call reports on Rep. Charles Boustany, Republican of Louisiana, and his family being denied coverage because of a pre-existing back and neck condition. "Unlike most people who are denied coverage, Boustany had served on one of the insurer's physician advisory boards for years, so he was able to contact Blue Cross Blue Shield senior management to argue that his family shouldn't have been denied coverage because of his health problem." He has been working with Democrats on reform, Roll Call reports, but the GOP tapped him to provide the counter-point to President Obama's address to Congress on health care (Kucinich, 10/15).
Another Republican - Rep. Joseph Cao, of Louisiana - will appear with Obama in Louisiana to talk health care reform, The Hill reports. "Over the past several weeks, Obama's healthcare policy czar Nancy Ann DeParle has held extensive discussions with Cao on the president's reform bill. DeParle even participated in a tele-townhall with Cao" (Hooper, 10/14).
Politico reports on the "war" on Rep. Mike Ross, the Democrat from Arkansas and Blue Dog negotiator for health care. "The Democratic congressman from Arkansas is getting pilloried on the left as a stooge for the health insurance industry. From the right comes the charge that Ross has rolled over for liberal party leaders. There's no refuge in the middle, either - reform-oriented groups and the media have targeted Ross for detailed investigations into his personal financial dealings, culminating in a request for a Justice Department investigation" (Isenstadt, 10/15).