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Democrats attempted to massively increase Medicare spending, but enough Republicans held together to stop them.

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Roll Call: House Rejects Democratic Motion to Increase Medicare Spending

Democrats attempted to massively increase Medicare spending, but enough Republicans held together to stop them.

On September 17, by a vote of 202 to 213, the House rejected a Democratic motion that would have instructed conferees on HR 1, the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, to push for a final version of the bill expanding Medicare spending in rural areas.

“The House bill offers assistance to health care providers in rural areas with one hand but takes away that assistance with the other hand through a reduction in payments to hospitals,” said Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D.-Tex.). “The prescription drug bill will be particularly harmful to rural hospitals,” he said, since it supposedly reduces handouts to rural health care facilities.

But Rep. John Shimkus (R.-Ill.) flatly rejected Stenholm’s argument that rural areas will be underfunded. “We are not cutting hospital reimbursement,” he said, noting that hospital reimbursement actually increases under the bill, although at a slower rate than before. Shimkus cautioned that the Democrats’ “budget-busting motion” means the proposed package would “greatly exceed the $400 billion allocated under the budget resolution for Medicare prescription drugs,” jeopardizing its chance of ever getting to a final bill.

Democrats generally favored the motion because it would have dumped still more money into the government-run section of the health-care system. Most Democrats in and out of Congress have long believed that a government-controlled Socialist health care system is the political issue with the best chance of returning them to the majority in Congress.

“We know these HMOs and these private plans are not working, for the most part,” complained Rep Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.). “If someone tries to get their prescription drugs through an HMO or managed care private plan, in many cases it is not going to be available, and they are not going to have access to it.”

Rep. John Tanner (D.-Tenn.) apparently could not accept the fact that rural areas are not dotted with hospitals. “All of the medical technology in the world is not going to help somebody who cannot access the system,” he said. “There is no way that one can deny the fact that somebody is going to die needlessly because they do not have a hospital or an emergency medical room within 50, 60 or 70 miles, simply because they live in a rural area.”

Of course, no one forces Americans in any state to live 70 miles away from the nearest hospital. Moreover, it is unclear where in the Constitution there is a requirement to subsidize far-flung habitations by building and/or funding hospitals unnecessarily in less-populated areas.

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D.-Tex.) feigned shock at the possibility that Congress would increase hospital funding by slightly less than expected, and nearly accused Republicans of stealing from the sick on their deathbeds. “You are taking money from people dying from cancer to try to fill another need,” he said. “We are here to tell you there are needs on both sides.”

That demagogic argument, however, failed to carry the day.

A “yes” vote was a vote to instruct conferees on H.R. 1-the Medicare prescription drug entitlement-to increase federal Medicare reimbursement of rural hospitals. A “no” vote was a vote against the motion.

FOR THE MOTION: 202 AGAINST THE MOTION: 213
REPUBLICANS FOR: 7
Brown-Waite, V.
Emerson
Fletcher
Latham
Leach
Renzi
Wilson (NM)

DEMOCRATS FOR: 194
Abercrombie
Ackerman
Alexander
Allen
Andrews
Baca
Baird
Baldwin
Becerra
Bell
Berkley
Berman
Berry
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Blumenauer
Boswell
Boucher
Boyd
Brady (PA)
Brown, Corrine
Brown (OH)
Capps
Capuano
Cardin
Cardoza
Carson (IN)
Carson (OK)
Case
Clay
Clyburn
Conyers
Cooper
Costello
Cramer
Crowley
Cummings
Davis (AL)
Davis (CA)
Davis (FL)
Davis (IL)
Davis (TN)
DeFazio
DeGette
Delahunt
DeLauro
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Dooley (CA)
Doyle
Edwards
Emanuel
Engel
Eshoo
Etheridge
Evans
Farr
Filner
Ford
Frank (MA)
Frost
Gonzalez
Green (TX)
Grijalva
Gutierrez
Hall
Harman
Hastings (FL)
Hill
Hinchey
Hinojosa
Hoeffel
Holden
Holt
Honda
Hooley (OR)
Hoyer
Inslee
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Jefferson
John
Johnson, E. B.
Jones (OH)
Kanjorski
Kaptur
Kennedy (RI)
Kildee
Kilpatrick
Kind
Kleczka
Kucinich
Lampson
Langevin
Lantos
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lee
Levin
Lipinski
Lofgren
Lowey
Lucas (KY)
Lynch
Majette
Maloney
Markey
Marshall
Matheson
Matsui
McCarthy (MO)
McCarthy (NY)
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McIntyre
McNulty
Meehan
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Menendez
Michaud
Millender-McDonald
Miller, George
Miller (NC)
Mollohan
Moore
Moran (VA)
Murtha
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal (MA)
Oberstar
Obey
Olver
Ortiz
Owens
Pallone
Pascrell
Pelosi
Peterson (MN)
Pomeroy
Price (NC)
Rahall
Rangel
Reyes
Rodriguez
Ross
Rothman
Roybal-Allard
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Sabo
Sanchez, Linda
Sanchez, Loretta
Sandlin
Schakowsky
Schiff
Scott (GA)
Scott (VA)
Serrano
Sherman
Skelton
Slaughter
Smith (WA)
Snyder
Solis
Spratt
Stark
Stenholm
Strickland
Stupak
Tanner
Tauscher
Taylor (MS)
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Towns
Turner (TX)
Udall (CO)
Udall (NM)
Van Hollen
Velazquez
Visclosky
Waters
Watson
Watt
Waxman
Weiner
Wexler
Wu
Wynn

INDEPENDENTS FOR: 1
Sanders

REPUBLICANS AGAINST: 213
Aderholt
Akin
Bachus
Baker
Ballenger
Barrett (SC)
Bartlett (MD)
Barton (TX)
Bass
Beauprez
Bereuter
Biggert
Bilirakis
Bishop (UT)
Blackburn
Blunt
Boehlert
Boehner
Bonilla
Bonner
Bono
Boozman
Bradley (NH)
Brady (TX)
Brown (SC)
Burgess
Burns
Burr
Burton (IN)
Buyer
Calvert
Camp
Cannon
Cantor
Capito
Castle
Chabot
Chocola
Coble
Cole
Collins
Cox
Crane
Crenshaw
Cubin
Culberson
Cunningham
Davis, Tom
Deal (GA)
DeLay
DeMint
Diaz-Balart, L.
Diaz-Balart, M.
Doolittle
Dreier
Duncan
Dunn
Ehlers
English
Everett
Feeney
Ferguson
Flake
Foley
Forbes
Fossella
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Garrett (NJ)
Gerlach
Gibbons
Gilchrest
Gillmor
Gingrey
Goode
Goodlatte
Goss
Granger
Graves
Green (WI)
Greenwood
Gutknecht
Harris
Hart
Hastings (WA)
Hayes
Hayworth
Hefley
Herger
Hobson
Hoekstra
Hostettler
Hulshof
Hyde
Isakson
Issa
Istook
Janklow
Jenkins
Johnson, Sam
Johnson (CT)
Johnson (IL)
Jones (NC)
Keller
Kelly
Kennedy (MN)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kirk
Kline
Knollenberg
Kolbe
LaHood
LaTourette
Lewis (CA)
Lewis (KY)
Linder
LoBiondo
Lucas (OK)
Manzullo
McCotter
McCrery
McHugh
McInnis
McKeon
Mica
Miller, Gary
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Moran (KS)
Murphy
Musgrave
Myrick
Nethercutt
Neugebauer
Ney
Northup
Norwood
Nunes
Nussle
Ose
Otter
Oxley
Paul
Pearce
Pence
Peterson (PA)
Petri
Pickering
Pitts
Platts
Pombo
Porter
Portman
Pryce (OH)
Putnam
Quinn
Radanovich
Ramstad
Regula
Rehberg
Reynolds
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Ros-Lehtinen
Royce
Ryan (WI)
Ryun (KS)
Saxton
Schrock
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shadegg
Shaw
Shays
Sherwood
Shimkus
Shuster
Simmons
Simpson
Smith (MI)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Souder
Stearns
Sullivan
Tancredo
Tauzin
Taylor (NC)
Thomas
Thornberry
Tiahrt
Tiberi
Toomey
Turner (OH)
Upton
Vitter
Walden (OR)
Walsh
Wamp
Weldon (FL)
Weldon (PA)
Weller
Whitfield
Wicker
Wilson (SC)
Wolf
Young (AK)
Young (FL)

NOT VOTING: 19

REPUBLICANS (8): DEMOCRATS (11): INDEPENDENTS (0)
Carter
Davis, Jo Ann
Hensarling
Houghton
Hunter
Osborne
Sweeney
Terry
Ballance
Deutsch
Fattah
Gephardt
Gordon
Israel
Lewis (GA)
Pastor
Payne
Ruppersberger
Woolsey
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