Texas to Challenge Health Care Overhaul: Abbott

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

    Attorney General Greg Abbott said Monday that Texas will legally challenge the federal health care legislation that Congress has passed.

    At least eight other states are also promising to file suits: Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington.

    NorthTexans React to the Health Care Plan

    [DFW] NorthTexans React to the Health Care Plan
    North Texans affected by the new health care plan are still trying to understand the details, while others aren't convinced it'll solve the problems.

    Abbott, a Republican, issued a statement late Sunday night after the U.S. House approved the measure. He said the legislation violates the U.S. Constitution and unconstitutionally infringes upon Texans' individual liberties.

    The bill requires all Americans to eventually receive health insurance through their employers or buy coverage for themselves.

    An estimated 30 million Americans are uninsured, according to members of Congress who supported the bill.

    Health care professionals say the effects of the bill are still unclear.

    “I reviewed it again this morning, and it’s so nebulous on what’s going to be in, what’s going to be out,” said Dr. Carlos Venegas, a Dallas primary care physician. “It’s going to be this Chinese menu of what you’ll sign up for.”

    But he said he believes the plan will not provide very well for people who are currently uninsured.

    "Bad insurance is still insurance; it's just bad," Venegas said. "It won't cover a lot."

    He also said it is not clear how much providers will be reimbursed for their services.

    “If the reimbursement is very poor, just like Medicaid is very poor, I’m not going to participate in it,” Venegas said.

    House members voted 219-212 late Sunday to approve a health care overhaul that that would extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans and make other changes to the nation's health care system.

    The bill is headed to President Barack Obama's desk for his signature. He plans to sign the measure Tuesday. The House passed the Senate's version of the bill, along with a package of changes. The smaller bill of "fixes" is headed to the Senate for reconciliation.

    Only House Democrats voted for the health care bill, which a number of Texas Republicans have been highly critical of.

    Plano health insurance broker Richard Monello said the influx of new patients may cause additional problems for the health care system.

    “Doctors are going to be overburdened, along with nurses, and I don’t know how you’re going to lower costs by that,” he said.

    Monello’s business, Custom Health Plans, Inc, runs a Web site where customers can choose plans from several competing companies.

    He said narrow profit margins for big health providers could force some of them out of business.

    But he is looking for a larger office to handle all of the extra business he expects to see from new patients trying to understand their options.

    “The citizen is probably totally confused,” Monello said.

    North Texas Votes

    North Texas representatives were nearly unanimous in their opposition to the health care bill.

    No Votes:
    Rep. Joe Barton (R) Arlington
    Rep. Michael Burgess (R) Lewisville
    Rep. Kay Granger (R) Fort Worth
    Rep. Ralph Hall (R) Rockwall
    Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) Dallas
    Rep. Sam Johnson (R) Plano
    Rep. Kenny Marchant (R) Irving
    Rep. Pete Sessions (R) Dallas
    Rep. Chet Edwards (D) Waco

    Yes Vote:
    Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) Dallas

    Johnson released the following statement:

    “For more than 60 years, we have fought to provide access to affordable health care for all Americans, and today the House has secured a historic vote to do so. The legislation we passed today will provide protections for those who have insurance, and a guarantee of quality, affordable health care for those who currently lack coverage.”

    “In the 30th District of Texas, this bill will improve employer-based coverage for 264,000 residents and provide coverage for 200,500 uninsured residents.  It will improve Medicare for 71,000 beneficiaries including closing the prescription drug donut hole for seniors.  It will provide immediate support for people throughout the 30th District by prohibiting common insurance company practices of placing lifetime caps on coverage and of rescinding policies from people who get sick.”

    “Insurance companies have held the public hostage for many years, controlling and rationing care. It is time to give citizens the right to control their own health care. I am proud to cast a vote in favor of this historic legislation.”

    Texas Republican Shouted "Baby Killer"

    Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer said he was the lawmaker who shouted out "baby killer" when Rep. Bart Stupak, whose vote was crucial to passage of the health care bill, was speaking on the House floor Sunday evening.

    The third-term congressman said he apologized to Stupak. He said in a statement that while he remains "heartbroken" over passage of the bill, "I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference" to Stupak.

    Neugebauer said he shouted out "it's a baby killer" in reference to an agreement reached between Obama and anti-abortion Democrats led by Stupak.

    More: MSNBC: Texas lawmaker admits yelling 'baby killer'