Rep. Nye Will Still Vote ‘No’ On Health Care Reform

March 21, 2010 10:23 a.m.

Rep. Glenn Nye (D-VA) announced last night that he will not change from a “no” vote on the House health care bill.In a statement, Nye said “there were many strong points in this bill that I would have been happy to support individually, but the package as a whole had serious problems.”

Here’s the full statement from his office:

Citing potential problems for TRICARE recipients, the cost of the bill, and cuts to children’s hospitals, Congressman Glenn Nye announced this evening that he will vote against adopting the health care proposal under consideration in the House of Representatives.

“Over the past year, I have spoken with countless small business owners, families, medical professionals, and average citizens across Virginia’s 2nd District, and it became very clear that this bill was not the right solution for Virginia’s health care challenges,” said Congressman Nye. “There were many strong points in this bill that I would have been happy to support individually, but the package as a whole had serious problems.”

The original version of legislation in the House had specifically exempted TRICARE from being affected. However, when the final bill language was released on Thursday afternoon, it was revealed that neither the Senate bill nor the reconciliation package contained an exemption for TRICARE. [Read the Veterans of Foreign Wars Statement About TRICARE Issue]

“Our military families need to be able to count on their health care benefits, and I am not willing to risk negative consequences for our military personnel and their families, particularly at a time when our troops are serving overseas in harm’s way,” said Nye.

Nye also expressed concerns about the potential for severe cuts to children’s hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk. The House version of the health care legislation, which Nye opposed last November, would have resulted in a $10 billion annual cut in funding to children’s hospitals. Rather than addressing this problem, the final package actually increased the cuts to $16 billion.

“This bill did not fix the key flaws with the original health care bill, including devastating funding cuts for CHKD in Norfolk and I am not convinced it will effectively reduce the cost of health care for families and small businesses,” said Congressman Nye.

Despite his opposition to the legislation, Nye reiterated that he is committed to passing meaningful reforms of the health care system.

“There are commonsense steps that we can take right now to make a real difference for Americans: repealing the antitrust exemption for health insurance companies, creating a high-risk pool for people with preexisting conditions, establishing an exchange that allows families and small businesses to have more choices, and cracking down on fraud and abuse,” Nye said.

“I know there are some people who will be disappointed with my vote, but I believe that I have a firm duty to vote my conscience and represent the best interests of my district. As much as we need health care reform, we also have an obligation to enact responsible changes for the American people, and to restore their trust in government,” Nye concluded.

(See who’s still undecided here.)

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