Arcuri: "No" to healthcare bill; possible vote Sunday

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKTV) - Congressman Michael Arcuri has told the Democratic Caucus that he will vote "no" on the Senate version of the Healthcare Reform bill, which he believed would be voted upon on Sunday.

Telling the caucus no Thursday re-affirms what Arcuri has been telling media outlets all week - that he is not in support of the healthcare bill in its current state.

“I have made my decision," Arcuri said. "I cannot support the health care package that is likely to be voted on later this week. There is no question we must fix our nation’s broken health care system. I supported a health care bill last year that controlled costs for those with insurance and made insurance affordable for those without it. The health care package expected to be voted on in the coming days doesn’t do enough to keep health care costs in check."

In response to Michael Arcuri's announcement that he will vote no on the health-care bill, Republican Congressional Candidate Richard Hanna said:

"I am pleased that after months of inexplicable waffling, he has finally decided to listen to his constituents, who are overwhelmingly against this bill -- as they should be," Richard Hanna said. "It is unfortunate that it's taken an election year for him to vote the way he should. We should all be asking what Mr. Arcuri's core principles are."

“I didn’t come to this decision lightly," Arcuri said. "In the last few weeks, I have received tens of thousands of phone calls, faxes and emails from families and senior citizens - all telling me how they feel about health care reform. I’ve spoken with hundreds of people in grocery stores, at community events, and at my Congressional offices. I have talked to small business owners from Herkimer to Geneva who desperately needs health care reform but, uniformly, they tell me this new proposal will hurt them and their employees across the board. I’ve listened to my constituents and have heard their concerns clearly.

Earlier in the week, Arcuri spokesperson Mark Cornell has said that Arcuri would be open to the bill if changes were to be made. On Thursday, though, Arcuri said he was not convinced that enough changes could be made to the Senate bill to meet the needs of his district's people.

“My opposition to this health care reform package is based on three items that I feel are essential if we hope to make insurance affordable for those who don’t have it and lower costs for those who do have it."

Arcuri described those items as follows:

*Doesn’t allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
*Doesn’t remove the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies;
*Includes an excise tax on high-quality health insurance plans (i.e. Cadillac Plans).

“I am not convinced that after months of listening, studying and debating that the current bill benefits the people in my district in the best possible way, and that's why I cannot support it.”

Cornell said the Congressman also believed that the House plan was a deficit reducer, while he can't say the same for the Senate bill. Cornell said that when the Congressman voted for the original House bill, he didn't like everything about the plan, but that his likes outweighed his dislikes.

Cornell said the opposite is true with the Senate bill.

House leaders plan a tentative Sunday vote on the bill.

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