WARRENSBURG - The health care bill that Congress passed Saturday would hurt small businesses and doesn't include appropriate incentives for cost control and for prompting citizens to lead healthy lifestyles, U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy (D-Glens Falls) said Monday morning.
Traveling through Warrensburg and Thurman to meet with his constituents, Murphy answered questions on why he voted "No" on the Affordable Healthcare for America Act that the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed Saturday in a historic 220-215 vote.
Murphy was among the few 39 Democrats who voted against the bill. While some political observers wondered how the freshman Congressman could vote counter to national Democratic leadership after President Obama lobbied so hard for the bill, others noted that his vote might have been condoned by Democratic leadership, after they had secured enough votes to pass the bill - to give Murphy leeway to bond with his constituency, which is heavily Republican.
But Monday, Murphy said his No vote was merely a matter of protecting the viability of small businesses, avoiding the spectre of runaway health care costs, assuring that incentives were in place to boost health across the nation, and scrapping proposed taxes that would target local industries.
"In this legislation, we didn't do nearly enough to control costs - we allowed a system in which big insurance companies have the ability to set a lot of their own prices, and we weren't doing enough to fix some of the broken incentives," he said.
Murphy said he had proposed provisions that gave citizens a premium discount if they kept their blood pressure and cholesterol down - but these specifics were cut out of the bill's final version.
"We've got to design incentives so people are prompted to take care of their health and reduce some of the overall costs - we've got to get everyone in the nation involved in working on these health care issues," he said. "Health care costs are too big, and they'd be getting bigger in the reform act, without the incentives."