I will vote yes on H.R. 3962. My vote is not an endorsement of all the provisions of the bill because I find much of the bill to be deeply flawed. There is little chance that H.R. 3962 will become law due to the long legislative process.
My reason for voting yes is to advance the cause of health care reform by forcing the Senate to act. Without passage of this House bill, the Senate could delay reform indefinitely. That would be the worst possible outcome because our current health-care system is not sustainable. Congress needs to pass good health legislation in the next few months for the good of the country.
We'll never know whether all the threats from Daily Kos and the rest of the liberal blogosphere motivated Cooper, but you certainly can make that case.
Here's a guy who's always stubbornly claiming to stand on principle--who will vote even against fixing a leaky Tennessee dam just because he's against earmarks, for instance--and he's suddenly deciding he actually can bring himself to compromise. For Cooper, that's weird. Do you think he's doing it because he knows there's a bunch of liberals willing to fund a challenger if he votes against the wishes of his constituents on this important issue?
Update: State and city elected officials put the heat on Cooper, telling him in a letter to vote for the bill. The signers: Rep. Joe Armstrong - Chair of Health and Human Resources Committee Rep. Mike Turner - Chair of House Dem Caucus Rep. Gary Odom - House Democratic Leader Rep. Sherry Jones Rep. Mike Stewart Rep. Mary Pruitt Metro Council Members Megan Barry - Member at Large Lonnell Matthews - District 1 Frank Harrison - District 2 Walter Hunt - District 3 Erik Cole - District 4 Pam Murray - District 5 Mike Jameson - District 6 Darren Jernigan - District 11 Anna Page - District 16 Kristine LaLonde - District 18 Erica Gilmore -District 19 Buddy Baker - District 20 Vivian Wilhoite - District 29 Parker Toler - District 31 Text of letter: *An Open Letter to Jim Cooper from Middle Tennessee State and Local Officials* It's no secret soaring health care costs are hurting Tennessee families, businesses and the economy. For those with insurance, the average family cost for premiums has already increased 77 percent since 2000. Out-of-pocket costs are driving families with and without insurance into bankruptcy and foreclosure. Tennesseans who can't absorb the increasing costs are forced to drop their coverage and as a result are more likely to develop preventable, yet more severe and costly health problems. The treatment for these uninsured are ultimately paid for by those of us with insurance or become the responsibility of local and state governments. Our current system has become a vicious cycle that only Congress can stop. Across Middle Tennessee, we've seen our constituents speak out for health care reform at rallies, over the phone, in person, at our churches, and out in our neighborhoods. It is clear to them and to us that now is the time for real reform. Everyone has to play a role in fixing our broken system and now it's our turn, as elected officials from Middle Tennessee, to join together and urge Congress to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in our communities. The Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, recently introduced in the House of Representatives, puts us on a direct path to making health care more affordable and accessible for all Tennesseans. As a result, our constituents will have peace of mind that quality, affordable coverage will be there - no matter what happens. Hardworking families across Tennessee deserve reform. The House bill will provide a uniquely American solution where families have the freedom to keep their current plan and doctor, choose another private plan or choose an affordable quality public health insurance plan. It shares the responsibility of solving this crisis with everyone, ensures delivery of cost-effective preventive and primary care, and allows Americans and their doctor to make health care decisions rather than insurance company CEOs. Fixing our broken system is the right thing to do and will help revive the small business climate in Tennessee. Currently, businesses that want to do the right thing find they can't afford to provide their employees with quality health care as prices rise every year. To address this problem, the legislation provides tax credits to assist small employers who want to offer coverage for their workers. The House bill also levels the playing field for small businesses by providing access to large-group rates in the new Health Insurance Exchange, lowering administrative costs and enabling small businesses to offer a larger choice of plans to their employees. America has debated and weighed health care reform for decades. Soon, the Congress will put an end to the debate and vote. To our elected colleagues in Washington, we have a simple message: Vote Yes. We can and must pass the Affordable Health Choices Act this year. *Tony Cani* Tennessee State Director Change that Works Campaign