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Is It Health Reform Or Deform? Plus: Bridgeport Day In Hartford

March 22nd, 2010 · 26 Comments · City Council, Development and Zoning, Education, National Politics, News and Events, State Politics

The landmark health care bill has passed. It’s historic. But will it be a historic burden?

Now what? It means more government and a victory for Barack. (For now, at least.) Some of the stuff kicks in right away, some of it down the road, including how Americans pay for it.

How does this impact Congressman Jim Himes’ reelection chances? Depends, in part, on the state of the economy come fall. The electorate can swallow lots of stuff when the economy is strong. In the short term it becomes a public relations debate battle. How does Jimmy sell it to skeptical unaffiliated voters? How do Republican opponents explain what’s wrong with it to the same audience? The race for Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District will be decided by independent voters.

Statement from Himes:

Washington, DC –Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) issued the following statement in response to passage of H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.

“I’m proud to have helped pass comprehensive health care reform today that puts us back in charge of our own health care decisions. This reform helps slow the escalation of health care costs in a terribly inefficient system, ensures access to health care for the millions of Americans currently struggling to get the care they need, and puts the decision-making power back in the hands of doctors and patients.

“This plan reforms the way Americans pay for health care and improves access to quality affordable care across the board. No longer will insurance companies deny health coverage to children, no longer will seniors have to choose between paying for food or prescriptions, and no longer will businesses have to fear huge increases in coverage costs, forcing them to lay off workers or eliminate coverage.

“This legislation is a good first step. While we will continue to improve this legislation over time, we have put our country on a path toward a healthier future.”

What Himes claims it will do:

In the 4th District, health care reform will:

· Improve coverage for 463,000 residents with health insurance with new protections against premium hikes, annual and lifetime coverage caps, and exclusions because of preexisting conditions.

· Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 94,000 families and 19,700 small businesses to help them afford coverage.

· Improve Medicare for 99,000 beneficiaries, including beginning to close the donut hole.

· Extend coverage to 31,000 uninsured residents.

· Guarantee that 9,300 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

· Protect 600 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

· Allow 43,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.

· Provide millions of dollars in new funding for the 4th District’s community health centers.

· Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $20 million annually.

Statement from Himes opponent Rob Russo:

Fairfield, Ct.–4th District Congressional Candidate Rob Russo released the following statement on tonight’s vote:

“This is a bad day. Not only has Congress just spent a trillion dollars to harm our health care system, businesses and families, Congress failed to actually fix the problems the People had with our health care system–cost of insurance and access to our great health care. Even worse, this was done against the will of the People. Congressman Jim Himes, you refused to come back and meet with the citizens and host a town hall meeting–you didn’t want to tell them you had already decided. Congressman, you chose to side with Nancy Pelosi not the People and you will be held accountable for it. Families cannot afford the increased costs you have placed on them. Businesses cannot afford the tax hikes and increased premiums you have placed on them. And, doctors cannot afford to practice with the limits you have placed on them. I promise the very first act I will take as a Congressman will be to repeal this TRILLION dollar, job-killing, health care damaging legislation.”

Bridgeport Day, What You Say?

This Thursday is Bridgeport Day at the State Capitol, the annual session of begging, pleading, marketing, selling, sneezing, genuflecting all things Bridgeport to state lawmakers.

We need this. We need that. How about fixing the funding formula that screws the city? Enough of this pilot payment stuff (payment in lieu of taxes), these properties serve an entire region. We need you guys to wake up and realize as the state’s largest city goes, so goes Connecticut. That yawn you just heard was a collective from the suburban- and rural-dominated Connecticut Legislature. “Yeah, yeah; we hear you. Hey, we got our own problems.”

Maybe OIB friend Michele Mount (MCAT) who lobbied in Hartford on behalf of the city and now does so on behalf of private-sector clients can provide a flavor of what it’s like to sell the city up there.

News release from City Council:

Bridgeport City Council Lobbies Federal Officials

Members of the Bridgeport City Council recently attended the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference in Washington D.C.

The conference included public policy and municipal-management workshops, as well as a series of seminars by NLC’s Leadership Training Institute, a resource center for assisting local officials in responding to the complex challenges of community leadership.

The delegation from Bridgeport met with Congressman Jim Himes and Senator Joseph Lieberman.

The focus of the meetings was lobbying for their support of funding for projects in Bridgeport, including the Oxbrook Flood Control project, replacement of the Congress Street Bridge, the Lighthouse Program, Brownfields Remediation and Education.

“As local elected officials addressing the issues we face on Main Street, it is critical that our representatives in Congress hear the concerns of Bridgeport residents and support the efforts that will address the needs of our community,” said Thomas McCarthy, President of the City Council.

Those attending the conference were:

Thomas McCarthy, Michelle Lyons, Robert Curwen, Carlos Silva, James Holloway, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, Denese Taylor-Moye

Where are the cheapskate Jim Himes supporters? Support this!

Congressmen Jim Himes is Freezin’ for a Reason

On Saturday March 27, 2010, at Jennings Beach in Fairfield, Connecticut, Congressmen Jim Himes will be jumping into the freeing waters of Long Island Sound, as part of Burroughs Community Center’s 3rd annual “Freezin’ for a Reason.”

This is the second year in a row that Congressmen Himes will be participating in the event, which benefits the families at the Burroughs Community Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Located in the West End of Bridgeport, Burroughs Community Center has been providing educational, recreational and enrichment programs to youth and families in the greater Bridgeport area for 13 years. Youth programs include an after school program, a tutoring program and a summer camp. In addition, Burroughs provides language classes and tax preparation for adults.

“There are very few organizations for which I’d strip down and toss myself into the freezing Long Island Sound, but the work Burroughs does is worth every last frozen finger,” said Himes. To support Congressman Himes effort visit www.firstgiving.com/jimhimes2

About Congressmen Himes

Congressmen Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District in the United States House of Representatives.  He is currently serving his first term in Congress and is a member of the House Committees on Financial Services and Homeland Security. For more information about or to contact Congressmen Himes, visit himes.house.gov/.

About Burroughs Community Center

By providing a growing variety of youth and adult programs annually, Burroughs Community Center gives Bridgeport constituents the educational, recreational, social and economic tools to lead successful lives.  Burroughs also provides space and support to over 60 non-profits and community groups, bringing over 42,000 community members through the front door annually. In addition, the building is home to nine human service non-profit agencies, providing a workplace for more than 50 people. For more information about Burroughs, call (203) 334-0293 or view their website at www.BurroughsCC.org.

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26 Comments so far ↓

  • MCAT

    Every historic journey begins with the first step. Another case where perfect should not be the enemy of good. Lennie, I have some thoughts about lobbying for Bridgeport and I’ll put them down tomorrow. Right now I am going to bed secure in the knowledge I will not be denied health care for the dozen or so “pre-existing” conditions I might have. :)

  • donj

    Obama did what he promised in his campaign and he fulfilled it props to him.

  • Mojo

    *** Well the little health-care engine that could is continuing to move down the track up that steep hill of History, to bring some good news to the America that has “not!” After a long trip through the wilderness & attacks from the “R” right-wing & tea-party savages as well as bouts with “have-got” lynch mobs, the tracks ahead are looking much clearer now. But the little H/C engine is not out of the woods just yet ’til all the supplies are checked & signed for by the Big “O” himself. After all is said & done, only “time will tell” if the year-plus historical trip was worthwhile? *** Next adventure trip into the unemployed American wilderness sounds like a “$” mission for the “jobs express!” ***

  • donj

    Health Care has passed!!! And Obama has shown me why I voted for him at Black Rock school. Like Mojo would say the Big O got the job done.
    www .youtube.com/v/GALYnnAQFKA

  • RedWhiteandBlue

    I am with Rob Russo on this one. We need reform but not this. I have not met many small businesses who think this is a good idea yet. This could have been approached much differently with better results. I don’t see this being a positive for Jim in November … the supporters will not be moved to run to the polls like those who oppose the bill and the approach. I would not be celebrating if I were Jim.

  • town committee

    Now that health care has passed maybe congress can concentrate on getting people back to work. So far they have concentrated on bailing out the too big to fail companies and financial institutions who got us in this financial mess in the first place.
    We have given the banks hundreds of millions of tax-free dollars and to what end? They have loaned the money to other countries and reaped the rewards from the interest generated. Yet try to get a business loan or a loan to buy a house and you find it is almost impossible to get the loan.
    Unemployment is still fluctuating between 9.7% and 10%. We basically are not putting people back to work. Hopefully it won’t take 14 more months to get a jobs package moving. There have been no immediate signs small businesses are doing any hiring or creating any jobs.

  • Frustrated Bridgeport Democrat

    Congressman Himes’ prescription for healthcare … Increased taxes, increased premiums, increased debt, decreasing economic growth, decreased job growth.

    How does cutting $500 billion from medicare and adding millions more people make finances more secure?

    Rep. Himes voted for a stimulus package when he was first sworn in that nobody read, that did next to nothing for private business but acted like a credit card to keep more public sector employed.

    This is much of the same. He has shown me nothing. Empty suit who made his Screw You money at Goldman Sucks selling dubious financial instruments and now is going to save us from ourselves. I will not vote for him.

  • the Nose

    Over the next 7-8 months we will find out if the opposition to health care reform was a) broad-based and real, or b) a small-but-noisy contingent of talk radio listeners. Whatever the Republicans are saying about the political implications of the vote, Russo’s job just got tougher; it’s a lot easier to scare folks about the monster under the bed as long as the monster stays under the bed where you can’t see him. If November comes and the sky hasn’t fallen like Glenn Beck said it would, what else does the GOP have to sell?

  • Grin Reaper

    Red White and Blue,
    You are showing your true colors; died in the wool Republican. No small businessman who knows what he is talking about can tell you anything about this health care bill. You are simply feasting on the Republican big business, big profit mantra. Government takeover of insurance. Big government is bad government. Let the businessmen lead the way to making health insurance work.
    As someone who knows something about small business medical insurance, my company has done everything possible to keep medical insurance affordable and avoid 18% – 20% annual increase.
    Unfortunately the one way we can do this is by continually increasing the deductibles. So we are now at a $2,500 deductible for people earning more than minimum wage but definitely not a living wage.
    So they have insurance for catastrophic illness but the deductible will create extreme financial hardships. Continuing the status quo is simply a slow and painful route to insurance reform until the financial consequences become greater than the Wall Street bailout.
    I tried to examine the bills as they were being vetted but there were so many variations and unknowns that it was impossible.
    At least now we having a starting point. At least now we can begin moving forward with planning for what needs to be done rather than reacting to what the greedy and unabated insurance companies have crammed down our throats.
    Thank God the Democrats in Washington had the courage to do something rather than follow the Republican strategy of do nothing but criticize.

  • Grin Reaper

    Oh, and Chris Shays and Rob Russo will keep telling you that “the fundamentals of the insurance industry are strong.” As long as you are a doctor, a pharmaceutical company or an investor in insurance companies.

  • Grin Ripper

    Nice Rips by the Reap!

    This notice serves as an Advanced Directive. Get one today!!!

  • Bpts Finest

    I liken this to the lottery … gotta be in it to win it … Is what we have now working? NO … so big O is taking a shot at the powerball and it just might pay off big … took Bush and Cheney 8 years to destroy us and at least Obama is taking his chances at saving us and not sitting on his ass. 75% of Americans will not be affected by this if I read correctly … the other 25% will have healthcare … a better America … So now instead of us paying for the uninsured hospital bills they will have coverage … again if I read this right … that’s a good thing … no?

  • MCAT

    I agree with the Reaper. In addition to energy costs, health care costs are putting the small businessman under. You are now opening up the possibility for people who were tied to jobs by health insurance to become entrepreneurs. Health Insurance shackled many people to jobs they only kept for health care benefits. If they are now free to leave to create new businesses those jobs will have to be filled, a new employer is created and he won’t be done by providing health care for the employees. Further–What is rising the fastest in most municipal budgets? Health Care. I think this a further benefit. By helping to reduce municipal and School Board budgets, the less the city or town will have to raise the property tax.

    This measure will lower our nation’s debt by over a trillion dollars in the next ten years. I agree with the Nose and will go further, there is no monster under the bed. Jim Himes was a part of an historic moment and I am very proud to call him my Congressman. I think he has proven that he is smart, accessible, effective and trustworthy. I found that Jim has made many inroads into the suburbs and he will be tough to beat. I think Herrmann is most likely to get the Republican nomination followed by Debicella then Russo.

  • Grin Reaper

    And the Nose is right on the money.
    As long as the Republicans avoided a final vote they were in the driver’s seat on this debate. Now it is law. Now if they attack the law they will be attacking the benefits without any real alternative solutions.
    Nothing will happen between now and November so the doomsday Republicans will not be able to point to any catastrophic reaction to the Democratic action.
    The Republicans can whine as much as they want about the process that the Democrats used but the American public will quickly grow tired of that argument.
    And if the Republicans simply believe they can succeed with more stalling more inaction and more negativity, November may turn out to be a very cold month for them.
    Just as the Republicans were sooo concerned about the Democrats, here is my advise to them. Sit down at the table. Begin to participate. Begin to show leadership. Or be prepared to tell the American public what is it you have actually done for the past two years other than whine, complain and sit on your fat asses.

  • town committee

    Grin; just for argument’s sake how did the Republicans stall on this health care package? The Dems had all the votes they needed in their own party to pass this health care bill. Taking 14 months to pass it was strictly an inter-party problem. The Republicans could have howled forever but they could not stall or stop this bill.

  • Grin Reaper

    You are correct from a tactician’s point of view. And Obama may have made the mistake of being too conciliatory to the Republicans.
    The day after Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts I was advocating for the exact same action the took place this weekend.
    The president wanted to reach out another time to the Republicans by addressing their caucus and again he had his hand slapped away.
    But I will stand by this prediction. The bloodbath that the Republicans believe is coming in November will not materialize.
    The Dems will continue to control both houses.

  • town committee

    If there is a big swing I agree I don’t think it will be over health care. I think the reason will be the normal mid-term election turnover and possibly another will be jobs. There is a lot of time between now and November and if jobs and the economy pick up say 7.5 unemployment rate and the economy looks better the turnover will be small. If things are basically the same then as they are now there will be a big turnover but not because of health care. Just a thought.

  • countdown

    My bet is the Senate will not do what they need to do this week to approve the ‘fixer bill’ i.e. eliminate the Louisiana purchase, corn husker kickback, and the ‘mystery hospital’ $100 million. Then they can pound OBAMA/DEMS that all those ‘bad’ things are in the law. The House trusted the Senate and voted last night on the major bill and the fixer bill. Now it is law. BUT the Senate is holding the Republican bag of tricks to pound the Democrats in the fall. If there is one word changed in the fixer bill, it has to go back to the House. The pressure has to continue to be on the Senate to approve the fixer bill so that what the CBO predicted in terms of fiscal impact has a fair shot at some form of reality. Watch the Senate political bag of tricks spill out starting tomorrow.

    • town committee

      How does the senate do that when there are 59 Democrats and 41 Republicans?

      • countdown

        They already started tonight TC. The parliamentarian ruled against the first senate Republican shot to strike down the fixer bill as not qualifying as reconciliation. Please, the Republicans have and will continue to throw every parliamentarian trick to delay, derail and whatever means they can dream up to muck this up. You know the senate Republicans have quadrupled the number of filibusters within a twelve-month period. The senate parliamentarian is going to be the most popular guy in the Senate this week. I bet the Republicans will submit 75-100 amendments that can’t be debated but will fill the chamber with hot, acrid air.

  • Mojo

    *** Regardless of Russo’s “Palin” type tea-party political comments about Himes’ vote on the health-care bill, it will do “no” good, providing Himes keeps his nose to the grindstone by keeping voters in his 4th Con. district informed in his dealings with issues that directly affect them. Once again Russo should stay closer to home by running for CT state political offices, where he may have a better chance of winning. *** Bridgeport Day @ the capital, “wow!” Maybe instead of the visitors allowing themselves to be given a dog & pony show tour & empty political speeches, they should be asking just “what” exactly our 8 legislative reps. have on their agendas for their respective districts & the city of Bpt? Who, What, When, Where & Why, have they done or have plans of doing for Bpt??? Now that would be an interesting, informative Bpt Day @ the state capitol! *** “Thumbs Up” to the big “O” & Co. for a historical bill that will hopefully help Americans “without” & keep a watch cap on the insurance companies that affect everyone in general. Like “Death,” Murphy’s Law can strike anyone, anytime regardless of race, gender, age, “$”status, etc. so as the grains of sand pass through the hour-glass of time in America, in the end having some type of healthcare just may make things a bit easier for all! *** VOTE FOR THE BEST INDIVIDUAL, NOT THE POLITICAL PARTY! ***

  • donj

    Grin you are correct that what Republicans did they just whined and complained and for years they never had a plan. Obama in less than a year and a half passed a bill that most presidents could not do. Obama did not sit on his butt like the Republicans!

  • RedWhiteandBlue

    I am with small business people all day and have a small business myself. No help in this bill until 2014 from what I can see. As for what this reform is suppose to achieve in terms of bringing premiums down across the board, I don’t see it. Why were we in a rush to pass a bill when the majority of provisions don’t come into effect for 4 years? I agree we needed reform, just not this reform. I don’t consider myself a Democrat or a Republican these days. I see this as a problem for Congressional Democrats in November. The everyday people I talk to–not politically active bloggers etc.–are outraged … Hopefully they take steps to fix this mess sooner rather than later.

  • RedWhiteandBlue

    I am totally against fining people for failing to purchase insurance. I understand 10 states are already preparing lawsuits.

  • countdown

    Do you care if people have auto insurance before they drive a motor vehicle? If you are driving around without insurance and get caught you will be fined and if you do it regularly you could wind up in jail. Seems okay to me.

    Same needs to apply to health insurance.

  • Mojo

    *** Again, it’s not over ’til it’s over when it comes to the health-care bill & the obstructing Republican Party with their, “Have gots” tea-party followers, etc.. Ten GOP states are even threatening lawsuits against the federal government once the bill is signed. What’s next, seceding from the 50-state union? Once that bill is passed & signed it’s “law,” unless the GOP wins big in the elections to become the majority again & takes steps to repeal it (JERKS)! I personally have had my fill of 8 years of Republican rule @ the federal level & Bush! Time to move on to other major problems in America like “JOBS,” EDUCATION, HOMELAND SECURITY & OUR BORDERS, STOPPING THE WAR, ETC. … ***

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