Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) (Official photo)
Within an hour of the House of Representative’s historic Sunday night vote on health care reform, Wisconsin’s Senator Russ Feingold sent this communication to his constituents via email:
Today, our country took an historic step toward fixing our broken health insurance system. The House has now taken an up-or-down vote on the Senate reform bill and it passed with majority support.
Without your sustained efforts, the insurance companies would have won. But they didn’t. A lot of people in Wisconsin and across the country won because we didn’t walk away from this fight.
Feingold had originally said that he would not vote for a bill that did not include a public option. However, when it came time to vote on the measure in the Senate in December, Feingold relented and put his support behind it.
At that time he had said in a public statement, "The Senate health care bill is far from perfect. I am deeply disappointed it does not include a public option to help keep down costs and I also don’t like the deal making that secured votes with unjustifiable provisions. I will work to improve the bill, including restoring the public option, when the final version is drafted."
Today Feingold added in an official press release,
After decades of gridlock and debate on this issue I am proud to be a part of an historic effort that takes on the insurance companies, makes health care more affordable and gives people more control over their own health insurance. This bill ends abusive practices by the insurance industry like denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, improves the unfair reimbursement formula that has shortchanged Wisconsin for years, and will bring millions more in Medicaid funding to reduce the burden on state taxpayers. After listening to the people of Wisconsin for many years on this issue it is clear that they don't want us to walk away from this challenge. We are now one step closer to providing more insurance choices and lower costs for families and small businesses, more accountability for health insurance companies, and lower deficits for taxpayers.
The House passed the bill yesterday in a 219 -212 vote, giving final approval to the legislation passed by the Senate on December 24th. However, the Senate must still vote on the final package of changes that was negotiated between the Senate and the House of Representatives, and was voted on by the House immediately after the initial vote. President Obama is expected to sign the bill this week.
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