Rep. Allen Boyd Votes for Landmark Health Care Reform

By: Matt de Nesnera Email
By: Matt de Nesnera Email

An historic vote unfolding Sunday on Capitol Hill on landmark health care legislation.

Democrats spent the week counting votes; one congressman they can now count on is Rep. Allen Boyd.

"[The bill] does have a significant number of improvements in it that will help stem the tide of increasing costs of the health care system in this country," explained Boyd.

Unlike the November House bill, Boyd says this package meets his criteria for responsible reform. He says it reduces health care costs and increases access.

Some locals agree: "I can't afford to get my own health insurance and my job doesn't offer it. I just had an accident, I've got thousands of dollars worth of bills," said Larry Mathias.

The bill will provide health care coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, like Mathias.

But, others say this isn't a step in the right direction.

"The government's taking over too much of the economy and too much over our lives, telling us to do things we don't need to do," said George Seaman.

A student loan overhaul is now lumped into the health care reform package. That would make the federal government the sole issuer of student loans, putting 700 local Sallie Mae jobs at risk.

Boyd, who rallied with local employees back in November, says he is working hard to make sure those jobs aren't lost.

"I know that the student loan program will continue, it'll have to. There will be lots of folks involved with that, doing servicing work and other things," claimed Boyd.

As for re-election, Boyd says he isn't thinking about that when casting his vote: "I have a very clear conscience and I feel that this bill, this health care reform, is a significant step in solving a major problem in this country."

On the House floor Sunday night, Rep. Boyd gave a spirited speech in favor of the Senate version of the health care overhaul. He elicited a vocal response when he said Republicans had not produced any viable alternatives to reform the system.

The Senate will take up the reconciliation "fix" bill, which includes the student loan changes, this week.

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