Saturday, March 20, 2010

Utah Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson Resists Presidential Bribery And Lobbyist Pressure, Publicly Commits To Vote "No" Against Obamacare

On March 20th, 2010, Utah's Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson rejected Presidential bribery and lobbyist pressure and placed principle ahead of party politics. He formally and publicly committed himself to voting No on the monster health care boondoggle known as Obamacare (HR 3590). Media stories from KSL Channel 5, the Deseret News, and the Salt Lake Tribune.

As of this post, the current Washington Post Obamacare House scorecard, which can be viewed HERE, shows 194 House members leaning Yes, 209 leaning No, and 28 Uncomitted. 216 votes are needed to pass. Both Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop intend to vote against the bill. On March 21st, HR 3590 passed 219-212; roll call vote HERE.

Matheson was not only openly bribed by Barack Obama for a Yes vote through the nomination of Scott Matheson Jr. to the 10th United States Circuit Court of Appeals, but came under ferocious pressure from both sides of the "aisle". More calls have been directed to Matheson's office over this single issue than on any other issue since he began Congressional service. KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com



Matheson issued the following statement:

"I am saddened that the year-long debate on health reform has resulted in legislation that is too expensive, contains too many special deals, does not contain health care costs and will result in increases in health insurance premiums and therefore I will vote against the legislation."

"Health care affects every Utahn in different but profoundly important ways. Controlling rising health care costs, increasing quality and value and improving access to health care and to affordable health insurance coverage remains critical to me. But the wrong kind of reform—reform which increases health care costs-- will leave our nation worse off."

"I look at lessons learned from the Massachusetts state health care reform effort. It illustrates what happens when universal coverage is extended without controlling costs: even more patients funneled into a broken system. Insufficient healthcare provider training resulted in too few healthcare providers to treat patients. Even with subsidies from the state, low-income families are not able to afford their health insurance."

"Going forward, I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to fix what is wrong with our health care system, to preserve what is right and to ensure all Utahns have access to the affordable, quality care and coverage they need."


Nevertheless, criticism continued from both sides. The National Republican Congressional Committee, already under fire for meddling in Utah Republican affairs, put out a press release complaining that it took Matheson too long to make his decision. "With his usual finger to the wind approach, Jim Matheson let his decision on the government takeover of healthcare be a cliffhanger when it should have been a no-brainer," said NRCC spokeswoman Joanna Burgos. The Utah Health Policy Project also criticized Matheson's decision, basically claiming that although the bill isn't perfect, the reforms are undeniably worthwhile and constitute a good start on a multi-year, incremental process of reform. And Utah Republican Party Chairman Dave Hansen claimed Matheson waited until the state's filing deadline passed on Friday March 19th to avoid attracting a truly high-profile challenger, be it a Democrat or Republican. But one group expressing immediate support for Matheson's decision is Utah Healthcare Initiative.

Matheson acknowledged he might lose some support on the left because of his decision. Gender studies instructor Claudia Wright, who's challenging Matheson for the Democratic nomination, might pick up some anecdotal support from the Rocky Anderson crowd. But Matheson might make up for that loss by picking up some moderates who were preparing to stray over to the Republican camp. The job of chief Republican challenger Morgan Philpot, or any other Republican challenger, may have just gotten harder.

Jim Matheson did the right thing. According to Alaska Congressman Don Young, Obamacare will enable 160 new grant programs, create 110 new regulatory agencies, and anoint 13 health "czars". In addition, Obamacare also includes a provision to hire as many as 16,500 new IRS agents to track your bank accounts to ensure you are paying for mandated health insurance and paying what the government deems sufficient. Specifically, according to RedState:

* IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage

* IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage”

* IRS can confiscate your tax refund

* IRS audits are likely to increase

* IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade

* IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans. Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four). There goes that less than $250,000 thing Obama promised.

* The IRS is barred from imposing these taxes and penalties on illegal immigrants.

Do you want an IRS agent determining whether or not your health insurance passes muster?

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