The two Pennsylvania Democrats who voted against the House health care package this weekend say the legislation is “dead on arrival” in the Senate.
Tim Holden and Jason Altmire were two of 39 House Democrats to vote against the health care overhaul that President Obama has centered his domestic agenda around.
Holden, who represents portions of central Pennsylvania, says party leaders were “foolish” to “ram through” a bill he argues won’t be seriously considered by the Senate.
Holden says that’s partially due to the public health insurance program the legislation would create.
"Oh, I don’t think there’s any way in the world that can pass the United States Senate. I didn’t have all that much of a problem with it, if I would learn--if they would ever tell us how they’re going to administer it, which they haven’t. But it seems to be a non-starter in the Senate, so I did not want to be a pawn in the chess game between Henry Waxman and Harry Reid and Max Baucus."
Holden wants to see the legislation’s language changed on several topics.
"It’s clear in the House bill that no public money could be used for illegal immigrants, but on the exchange People should be required to have certification that they’re a United States citizen. And leaders in the House did not accept that. They’re going to have a problem passing it at the end if they don’t have that in."
Altmire, a second-term Democrat from Allegheny County, says he wants health care reform to pass, but he couldn’t support this bill.
"I want to see us address the fact in the fee for service system there’s very little incentive for providers to keep cost down. Because every time you go to the doctor, every test they run and every procedure they order, they make money. And when you have a system that’s run that way it leads to inefficiency."
The legislation now heads to the Senate, where Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey is predicting a final vote by year’s end.