Frank Kratovil On The Wrong Side of History

Posted on March 22, 2010

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Rep. Frank Kratovil

I am sorry to report that my congressman, Rep. Frank Kratovil, wakes up on the wrong side of history this morning. Last night, Mr. Kratovil was the only Democrat from Maryland to vote NO on the health care reform bill. He then voted NO on the Reconciliation package to fix the flaws in the Senate bill.

Now the good news:  The House of Representatives passed the Senate bill, 219-212, and then passed the Reconciliation fixes, 220-211. Kratovil was one of 34 House Democrats who voted NO, along with 178 Republicans. For a complete list of how House members voted, see the Washington Post chart.

All 220 YES votes were Democrats. Not a single Republican  — not a single one — could find it in their hearts to vote in favor of health care reform. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Western Maryland, the only Republican from Maryland, voted NO.

In the end, Democrats carried the day by a small, but still decisive majority of nine votes. Republicans chose to side with insurance companies in a campaign of misinformation and outright lies.

Three Maryland Democrats were among the honored leaders on the podium for the celebratory press conference. They are Rep. Steny Hoyer of Southern Maryland, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (a Maryland native and daughter of a great Baltimore mayor, Ms. Pelosi represents California), and Rep. Christopher Van Hollen of Montgomery County.  I don’t believe any other state, large or small, had as many leaders in the struggle for health care.

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Kratovil may or may not he re-elected in November, but the NO vote on health care will be an albatross around his neck for the rest of his political career.

History shows that Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans health care are the programs most cherished by the American people. In a few years, a vote against health care will be as embarrassing as a vote against Social Security or Civil Rights.

— Bernie (John) Hayden

Following is the text of a statement released by Rep. Frank Kratovil’s office Saturday night.

“Since the debate over health care reform began last year, I have tried to work constructively with colleagues in Washington to craft a bill that could expand coverage and reduce health care costs while preserving consumer choice and putting our nation on a more stable long-term fiscal footing. In November, I voted against a bill that I believed fell short of these goals, citing the overall cost, the deficit impact, and the negative impact that the bill’s employer mandates could have on job creation.

“While the legislation now under consideration before the House has made some improvements over that bill, a number of the concerns I have raised throughout this debate have still not been addressed, which is why I will be voting “No”. The bill’s overall price tag of $1.07 trillion is above the target set by Democratic leadership earlier in the debate, even after cutting the $208 billion “doctor fix” out from previous versions of reform legislation. When this additional cost is added to this bill, the Congressional Budget Office has stated that the package would increase deficit by $59 billion in the next 10 years. I am also concerned about the impact this bill will have on the cost of coverage for middle class families in the non-group market, as well as the impact that the employer mandate would have on employment at a time when job creation must be our top priority. And while some of the most egregious backroom deals in the Senate bill would be ended by the reconciliation package, other provisions benefitting individual states at the expense of Maryland taxpayers would continue.

“I recognize that health care reform is an urgent priority, and would strongly support efforts to reform our health care system by ending the practice of rescission, extending coverage for children on a parents’ plan up to 26 years old, creating a federal exchange to facilitate more transparent competition, closing the Part D “Donut Hole”, and encouraging competition across state lines. However, I believe that the package currently before the House does not represent a fiscally sustainable approach to reform. This is too important of an issue not to get right”.

-Rep. Frank Kratovil

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