House lawmakers passed the Senate version of long-awaited health care reform on Sunday night. And Texas leaders were quick to fire off on it.
— On Facebook, Attorney General Greg Abbott was already declaring war on the health care bill. He said he had just left a conference call with officials from more than a dozen states: "Just got off the AG conference call," he wrote. "We agreed that a multi-state lawsuit would send the strongest signal." Later, he released a statement: "To protect all Texans' constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation's founders, and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government, the State of Texas and other states will legally challenge the federal health care legislation."
— Gov. Rick Perry released a statement saying the health care vote "had more to do with expanding socialism on American soil than it does fixing our health care finance and delivery systems."
— U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, voted in favor of the bill, and expressed a desire to see further reform. “Our families deserved more," he said, "like the choice of a Medicare-type option, yet they will get so much more than what they have today. To this valuable reform foundation we must, we will, do more.”
— "The cost of inaction is far greater than the investment for these reforms," said U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who had been on the fence until this weekend.
— U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson, took a different tact on Fox Business News: “It’s just wrong policy, bad economic policy, bad moral policy, bad constitutional law," he said. "… Medical care will get worse and this country will go into bankruptcy.”
— Members of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation released the following statement: “This pivotal moment in our nation’s history will deliver affordable, accessible health care coverage to all Americans, and this plan will take a stand against rising premiums in Texas which have doubled over the past decade. No longer will our families have to compromise their health because they can’t afford health insurance, and no longer will insurance companies discriminate against our constituents based on pre-existing conditions, gender or illness."
— State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, lauded the passage of the bill, saying it takes "the advantage away from the insurance companies and puts it back in the hands of Texans and the American people." "Because of our dismal health standings, Texas stands to gain the most from this legislation," he said in a statement. "I intend to work hard to ensure that this legislation is implemented effectively in our state, so that quality health care becomes more affordable and more accessible for all of our families."
— William H. Fleming III, president of the Texas Medical Association, said the organization is "disappointed and saddened that Congress and President Obama would pass a half-baked Senate proposal and call it 'Health System Reform.'" “Make no mistake — Texas physicians support health system reform — reform that truly puts our patients first," he wrote in a statement. "... We believe the bill’s unaffordable health system reforms, piled on top of a crumbling Medicare foundation, will create even more dire consequences for all."
— Tweeted Republican Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams: "Even with the passage by the House of the Senate health care bill it's not over. Keep fighting for liberty and life!!"
— Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said, "Today's action by Congress is a slap in the face to the clear majority of Texans, and Americans, who demand real health care reform resulting from an open and transparent process and that truly fixes a broken system."
— The Texas Conservative Coalition quickly pledged to try to pass legislation to "prohibit the implementation of the overarching federal healthcare overhaul in Texas." "The first bill I file in advance of the 82nd session will be to ensure that Texans retain the freedom of choice when it comes to their health care, even if their choice is to remain uncovered," said state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center. "We recognize that our efforts to reject ObamaCare may end up in federal courts, and may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. So be it."
— U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Beaumont, tweeted that "backroom deals paid off." "Senate bill passed 219-212," he wrote. "As promised, I voted NO."
— Another Tweet, this one from U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock: "I'm proud to say I voted 'No' on the #hcr bill. The American people will be able to make their votes come November."
— U.S. Rep Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, and the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman, said, “The decision by President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress to ignore the voters and ram their government takeover of healthcare down the throats of the American people will come at a steep political cost in November. The NRCC and Republican candidates running across the country will fight to hold Democrats accountable from now until Election Day."
— U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington/Ennis, said in a statement: “The Democratic liberal left got a tactical victory tonight, but this vote wasn’t the end of the health care debate — it was really the beginning... People with pre-existing conditions deserve coverage. There should be restrictions on rescinding insurance once you have it. Consumers should have more information about prices, quality and the availability of health care services. But all the federal mandates, the intrusion of the government into daily health care decisions and the multitude of tax increases are wrong."
— Republican Party of Texas Chairman Cathie Adams released her own statement: “This evening, following a series of backroom deals and arm twisting, President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi convinced their members to support a $2.5 trillion dollar government-run health care bill that increases taxes, raises premiums, slashes Medicare and does nothing to control the cost of healthcare."
— U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, said: "Tonight, the same members of Congress who are sent to Washington by the voters in their districts to represent their best interests, told the American people, 'We don't care what you want, we don't care what you need, we are going to pass a health bill which you oppose anyway."