Across the nation, Democratic members of Congress defended their support for health care reform to constituents during the Easter recess. But while many Democrats in more conservative districts stuck their necks out by voting for the historic bill, Rep. Jerrold Nadler is defending the legislation to liberal Upper West Side voters who believe it didn’t go far enough.
“It’s a fundamentally conservative bill,” Nadler said to his constituents at the April 6 Community Board 7 meeting. “But from the rhetoric today, it’s a left wing, government takeover. I wish it were in some ways.”
Nadler, a prominent House liberal and supporter of a single-payer health care system, lamented some of the bill’s provisions, such as the strict anti-abortion rights language (which he said tempted him to vote against it) and the lack of a public option, the government-run health care program that will compete with private insurers.
“We didn’t get it in the end because the president didn’t support it,” Nadler said.
Nadler spoke about fighting against other provisions included in health care reform, such as the “Cadillac” tax on high-cost insurance plans. He told the crowd that he opposed the tax that is going into effect in 2018, and that Congress has eight years to repeal it.
But after explaining his gripes and criticisms, he dove into the details of reform: how people will be covered, how the plan is financed and how it will affect businesses.
Regarding benefits, Nadler said he was pleased that coverage will no longer be dropped for pre-existing conditions, and that women will not be charged higher premiums for insurance.
“We’re solving a lot of the problems,” he said.
Despite his misgivings about the bill, the most important aspect of reform is that it “saves 40,000 lives a year.”
“How can you vote against it?” Nadler asked. “Everything else is secondary.”
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