Arcuri and Hanna on passage of healthcare reform

WASHINGTON, DC (WKTV) - Congressman Michael Arcuri and Richard Hanna, the man who is running for Arcuri's seat this November, have both released statements on the passage of healthcare reform legislation Sunday night by the House of Representatives.

"There is no question that we must fix our nation's broken health care system. Over the past several months, I have received tens of thousands of phone calls, faxes and emails, and I have spoken with small business owners, medical professionals, local health care providers and families all across Upstate New York. The message is clear - while we need real health care reform, we can and we must do better for Upstate New York," Arcuri said. "I believe the health care bill I voted against yesterday will raise health care insurance premiums and costs for the hundreds of thousands of families, seniors and small businesses in my district who already have insurance.

Arcuri then went on to state his reasons for voting against the healthcare bill, which included:

*it includes an excise tax on high-quality health insurance plans, which would unfairly punish middle class families and small businesses who already have good health insurance plans.

*it fails to create competition among health insurance companies and lower costs - does not repeal the anti-trust exemptions enjoyed by insurance companies that currently limit health insurance options;

*it fails to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Does not allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices - something Arcuri said the VA has been doing successfully for years.

*it puts more people on Medicaid, which would place additional financial strain on state and county budgets and could lead to property tax increases;

*It cuts Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals, which already operate in the red from year to year due to existing under reimbursement by these programs. Arcuri said hospitals are already cutting jobs and services due to underfunding from Medicare and Medicaid.

Arcuri said these cuts will make the situation worse.

"My greatest fear is that under this legislation middle class families and senior citizens in my district will see their insurance premiums sky-rocket even more and that small businesses will be forced to cut costs by either slashing benefits or laying-off employees," Arcuri said. "At the end of the day, voting in opposition to this bill was the only common sense, responsible approach, and the only one that my conscience would allow based on the concerns of families and small businesses in our region of Upstate New York. Although I could not support this bill, I will continue to work tirelessly to institute reforms that will benefit those of my constituents who don't have health insurance as well as those who do have insurance."

Richard Hanna said Sunday night that the House of Representatives failed Americans everywhere by approving a flawed bill that increases costs while doing nothing to improve the quality of the health care system.

"It is an outright lie to say that this bill will save our nation money," Hanna said. "Taxes would be collected immediately, yet new spending would be deferred for years. A decade of taxing would cover just six years of spending."

The bill will financially burden future generations, Hanna added, going on to say that the bill includes the takeover of federally financed student loans, stealing $19 billion from education.

Hanna said that Congressman Arcuri voted in favor of what was "an even worse bill" in November and "against a similar bill" Sunday night. Hanna said he Arcuri enabled the process by voting for it the first time and in committee.

"Mr. Arcuri enabled this process," Hanna said. "First, he voted 'yes,' then he voted 'no' and as a result we have this flawed bill. He shows no core principles other than political opportunism. Mr. Arcuri has betrayed those who supported him and has proven once again that he is little more than a career politician. He should be held accountable in November."

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