December 24, 2009

Kohl: Health care bill 'is good for Wisconsin'

By a 60-39 straight party-line vote Thursday morning, the Senate passed sweeping health care legislation. The bill now must be reconciled with the House version, facing another vote in both chambers. President Obama hopes to sign it into law before the State of the Union address in January. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-WI, issued the following statement soon after the vote:

By Sen. Herb Kohl, D-WI

As the first decade of the new millennium comes to a close, we stand on the edge of passing historic health care reform legislation. This week the Senate passed its health reform bill. With every step of this process, we get closer and closer to improving a health care system that has become untenable for so many Americans.

Though the health care debate has been long and at times rancorous, in years to come we will not remember the disagreements, the harsh rhetoric, or the misinformation that has been spread. Just as with the creation of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare in 1965, both of which were nearly waylaid by detractors and critics, the changes and improvements that result from this legislation will drown out the faint echoes of dissent.

We will remember the passage of health reform as the time we finally put American patients ahead of the insurance companies. We will celebrate how we took the first difficult steps to make bankruptcy due to illness a thing of the past. We will hail the legislation that moved us toward universal coverage, something that all other industrialized countries take for granted.

Reforming the nation’s health care system is no easy task – this is as complicated as it gets. In crafting legislation, we have factored in the unique health care needs of millions of Americans. We have made sure that those who are happy with their current coverage can keep it. And we have also considered how reform will affect a variety of small and large businesses.

I have voted for and stand by this bill. Some of the provisions included in health reform have been studied, perfected, and championed by experts for years. And some are just plain common sense. With this bill, we are helping both young and old. For instance, those age 26 and under will immediately be eligible to join their parents’ insurance plan. And the bill will provide free preventive services for over 870,000 seniors in Wisconsin while shoring up Medicare, making it solvent for an additional decade.

Certain provisions will benefit everyone, regardless of age. We are leveling the playing field by putting a stop to insurance company abuses, providing more choice and competition in health care coverage, and reining in health care costs. The term “pre-existing condition” will be a thing of the past. Patients will be able to appeal to an independent board if their claim is denied. Insurance companies will not be able to drop a policyholder when they get sick and need coverage the most.

Not only will individuals benefit from these changes, but so will the small businesses that often provide their coverage. We understand that health care costs are breaking the bank for small businesses. These business owners are the ones who know their employees by name and know their families. They want to do right by their people. Yet it often becomes a choice between unaffordable health insurance, or staying afloat and providing a paycheck to workers.

Beginning next year, a great number of small businesses will be given tax credits to help provide health insurance to their employees. For those that do not currently offer insurance coverage, the bill will create a marketplace for their workers to purchase insurance.

This bill is also good for Wisconsin, which has always been ahead of the curve in terms of providing health care coverage to our most vulnerable. The bill will provide additional federal funds for BadgerCare, alleviating some of the burden on our state budget and preserving access to care that so many depend on.

As we all know, Wisconsin boasts some of the best health care systems in the country. They serve as models because they prioritize the value of the care they provide over the amount of care they provide. They understand that duplicative testing and treatment do not result in better health outcomes. In this health reform bill, changes to the Medicare reimbursement system will reward efficient systems of care such as those found in our state.

These are provisions I have fought for, among many others. Health reform will also do a great deal to improve long-term care, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and enhance consumer protections, all in a fiscally responsible way. While this bill does a lot to reduce health care costs, we cannot stop here. This is only the beginning, and we will remain committed to the issue of cutting health care costs in the years ahead.

Nevertheless, this legislation is an outstanding first step. Over the next ten years, this bill will reduce America’s deficit by $132 billion. By insuring 95 percent of Americans while reducing the deficit, this legislation achieves what many thought was impossible, and I am proud to have been able to cast my vote in favor of it. I believe that, as was the case with the creation of Social Security and Medicare, history is on our side.


  1. Merry Christmas and God Bless all of you...even you tax intoxicated commie socialist can't do anything for yourself government dependant its not my fault take care of me wingnuts!

  2. Speaking of guest Posts

    Freedom is everything. Throughout history the most common way for freedom to be taken away is for the tyrant to suggest that surrendering freedom is necessary for some temporary advantage - either economic or defensive against other nations, tribes, etc.

    This health care debate will be a great example. Proponents of the health care system pointed to the poor people who did not have health insurance and suffer as a result. I know many people like this, including full families and I worked with many at RTI that were either uninsured or underinsured and usually got health care by just going to the emergency room and then ignoring the bills. They complained that they did not have the opportunity to get health insurance like most people and the government heard them.

    Now what can they expect? They can expect a $1500 fine for not having health insurance. They can also expect their health insurance costs to be much higher if they decide to get insurance to avoid the fine because of all the mandates on insurance companies will drive up their costs. Obama just said that insurance companies are being held accountable (a few minutes ago in a morning address). What is he talking about? Look at the stock prices of insurance companies over the last couple weeks. The government is about ready to use the police power of the state to force the poor to buy their product so they will get 30 million new customers. This is the greatest thing that could possibly happen to insurance companies because people with guns are forcing citizens to become their customers. If I had only forseen this I could have bought stock in insurance companies two weeks ago, before the health care debate was lost, and made about 8% in 10 days.

    So the real winner of the health care debacle was the insurance companies. Who will the biggest loser be? Naturally, the biggest loser will be the poor. Now they will be afraid to walk into an emergency room without insurance and get automatic treatment. Think about it. The law will still be in place that emergency room services cannot be denied based on ability to pay, but now the emergency rooms will be defacto data gatherers for the government who will be required to report anyone who comes in without insurance. The IRS will be the agency in charge of collecting the $1500 fines.
    You will see the poor doing things like trying to set their own broken legs rather than be tagged as someone without insurance.

    This is a cruel hoax that started out with the promise or "hope" for free medical care for the poor. We surrendered freedom by buying into the hoax. Now the poor and uninsured will end up being the ones who pay for it all.

    Expansion of the police power of the state never leads to anything good. Now the police power of the state will be used to stick guns in the faces of poor people and insist that they either get insurance or face fines. Of course, if they refuse to comply and refuse to pay the fines then eventually someone with a gun on their hip will show up to their front door to take them to jail.

    It is very similar to Chairman Mao coming to power because too many of the Chinese were malnourished. He solved the problem all right. He simply let about 50 million peasants starve to death so that there would be more food left for the rest of the population.

    This is the same principle being applied to the poor/uninsured in the US. Force them underground if they do not have insurance and then the rest of the people will have a greater supply of health care. Hey, it will work. Emergency Room costs will go down. They will also be denied medical tests (out of fear that their uninsured status will be discovered) so many of them will die off anyway.

    We are now living under tyranny.

  3. Is Senator Kohl really putting this watered down Insurance and Drug Company Subsidy Bill in the same category as the passage of Social Security and Medicare?

  4. This is the beginning of the end of the once great America. Thank you to all the liberals that believe the constitution grants us social entitlements. This is only the start of total government control and the loss of freedom as our forefathers saw it.

  5. Is life so dear or peace so sweet ...

    When the rage boils over it to the streets with the massive taxes and wrecking of heath care please do not say you did not know. This be more like the French Revolution then anything you might like.
    God be with us I think we will need Him to prevent a civil war

  6. What a P.C. prepared statement! Who will enforce the people who don't buy health insurance? The NON-smoker police?

  7. Sorry Sen. Kohl it is far from over:

    Then of course the court challenge. By the time this gets even close to being finished so will the Dems in The House.
    You can see the rats jumping ship now by retiring or joining the GOP.

  8. Merry Christmas and God Bless all of you...even you tax intoxicated commie socialist can't do anything for yourself government dependant its not my fault take care of me wingnuts!

  9. Yo Kohl, why didn't you hold out and get some real money for Wisconsin? Look to Nebraska, they got 100 mill.

  10. Out with the DEMS in 010

  11. When will you ring wing wackos finally admit you are the minority. Get used to it. Who have you got that will beat Feingold and Kohl, and Walker will never be Govenor as far as Ryan goes, just exactly what has he done for his district except write an editorial.

  12. 7:02 You are probably a semi educated idiot who has to read the instructions on your package of toilet paper....!

    Book smarts?


    Common sense?

    I doubdt it....but a fool none the less!

    If you agree with what is to your Dr...... mine thinks, and knows this is a pile of HS.

  13. My employer with 20000 employees will drop its own coverage the moment that the bill is effective. It is less expensive for the company than pay the surtax. I wonder how many other companies will dump and run.

    Merry socialist non-holiday!

  14. It is not the end of the world for heavensake. The same was said for SS and Medicare and the U.S. prospered. Just think of all those who did not have healthcare that now will.

  15. The CBO has said that our out of pocket costs will rise to $15K a year and the ave premium will go up 106% Go Dems!

  16. Yes SS and medicare were once said to be "Socialist Programs". Their passing made it possible for government to have a slush fund to borrow from. Now after paying into SS and MC for 35 years I can now look forward to not benefiting from it. SS is 7 Trillion in the hole and MC is 36 Trillion in the hole. Only a Marxist can feed this BS to the people and expect them to believe it. My wish is all progressives commit suicide.

  17. How really is this bill going to reign in Insurance company abuses? More choices does not stop abuse. This greedy cockroaches will just adjust the way they rob us. Probably already in place before the bill passed.

  18. I once had health insurance through a company, they could not afford the premiums so they dropped it. While I was on that insurance, I was diagnosed bipolar. After the insurance was dropped from the company, every insurance company refused to give me affordable insurance due to the mental illness claiming that I have to be cured from bipolar or I am denied. This was from Security Health in Marshfied. In order for me to go on insurance for the disabled, my income has to be at a certain bracket in order to get it. This means that I have to give up my career that I worked so hard to get in order to get insurance. If the government want to mandate people to have insurance, then they better mandate the companies not to refuse people who have life term disabilities also making it so high where people cannot afford it. Otherwise, people will leave this state and go elsewhere where they will not get bullied. Keep that in mind Herb Kohl, when approving a bill. That law should go both ways to the people and the insurance companies who like to deny health benefits.