Posted by guest blogger Mommynator.
Mike McMahon is a Staten Island boy. Staten Island is the most conservative borough in NYC. We put Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg (the lesser of two evils) over the top twice. We're loud and obnoxious at times and our reps know EXACTLY how we feel about things. Some of our town meetings make British parliament look tame.
Mr. McMahon took awhile to figure out how he was going to vote on the healthcare bill. He wants reform (as do we all), but our situation in Staten Island is a precarious one when it comes to healthcare, especially for our poorer members.
In the end, he voted a resounding NO!!! Just like the majority of Staten Island wanted him to do.
I emailed him to thank him for his vote because even a democrat needs encouragement to do the right thing.
This was his response:
Dear Mrs. [Mommynator],
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform legislation.
On March 21, 2010 the House of Representatives voted to approve the Senate health care bill, H.R. 3590, by a vote of 219-212. On March 23, 2010, the President signed the Senate health care bill into law. H.R. 4872, a package of changes to the new health care law, was passed by the Senate on March 25, 2010 by a vote of 56-43, passed by the House later that day by a vote of 220-207, and signed into law by the President on March 30, 2010.
After reviewing the legislation and discussing its local and national impact with nurses, doctors, and other health professionals, I ultimately decided that I could not vote for this bill. I have long been in favor of health care reform that brings down costs and makes coverage more affordable and accessible to all Americans. However, this bill as written was not the way to reform our health care system because of the impact it could have on our district hospitals and our seniors.
As you may know, our district has no public or city hospitals. Staten Island, in fact, is the only borough in New York City without one. I fear that the changes proposed to the disproportionate share hospitals (DSH) reimbursement rates will cut millions from our local hospitals at a time when they can least afford it. This health care package will hurt Richmond University Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital, with an estimated loss of $25 million and $45 million, respectively from DSH payments. Maimonides and Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn will also be affected, with estimated DSH cuts totaling approximately $112 million and $70 million, respectively. I am hopeful that these cuts can be reversed at a later time, but without the assurance that these funds will be restored, I could not vote for a bill that might lead to another hospital closure in our district. These bills also fail to address adjustments in the rate of payment doctors get and may cause many to no longer accept Medicare and Medicaid. Further, the package reduces Medicare Advantage on which 40% of our seniors rely and cuts Medicare overall by over $400 billion.
Despite my decision to vote against this legislation, I remain committed to health care reform that works. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fix our health care problems and lower costs for all Americans. You should also know that there is much in this bill that I support. This reform package expands coverage and bans insurance companies from denying insurance to someone with a pre-existing condition. It will allow children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26. It will provide an annual cap on out-of-pocket expenses, thus preventing people from going into bankruptcy to pay for health care. And the insurance exchanges will provide the same quality insurance options available to Members of Congress and their staff. These are all good provisions that should be supported broadly across our community.
When I ran for Congress, I pledged to be an independent voice for Staten Islanders and Brooklynites and to work together with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner. However, partisan games, political divisions, misinformation campaigns and incriminations were not what our Founding Fathers intended. Our country is facing tremendous challenges, from rising deficits and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to aging infrastructure and budget gaps in our City. As your Member of Congress, I will meet the challenge to get our Country's deficit under control and our fiscal house in order.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding this important issue. Please feel free to get in touch with my office in the future if I can be of any assistance to you on this or any other matter of concern. I hope you will find my website - www.mcmahon.house.gov - a useful resource for keeping up with events in Washington and the 13th District of New York.
Michael E. McMahon
Representative for the 13th District of New York