Isle Dems praise House bill; GOP blasts it


POSTED: Monday, November 09, 2009

While local Democrats waxed ecstatic over the House's passage of a $1.2 trillion health care bill, one Republican state senator sees no cause for celebration.

“;I think the American public has shown (with tea parties and other protests) their disgust with what the Congress is doing,”; said Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai).

Slom said it was significant that the bill passed by only five votes, and predicted the U.S. Senate would not be able to pass their version this year.

Slom warned that the 2,000-page bill will have effects that people who have not read it do not understand.

“;They're taking a great leap of faith,”; he said. “;This bill has less to do with health care and more to do with further accumulation of power by the federal government.”;

Some politicians have hailed Hawaii's law, which mandates businesses provide health insurance for employees working more than 20 hours a week, as a model for national health care reform, but Slom said there is a reason no other states have adopted it.

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“;It's a job destroyer,”; he said. The law is an added burden for small businesses, and it would force companies to shift full-time employees to part-time or not fill openings, he said.

Brian Schatz, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said in a statement that the health reform bill is “;an important step towards ensuring every American has access to quality, affordable, stable and secure health care coverage.”;

He added, “;This legislation will extend coverage to 36 million Americans and cut the deficit by $104 million in the next 10 years.”;

Schatz noted that only one Republican voted for the bill.

Hawaii U.S. Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono both voted in favor of the bill, which passed 220-215 Saturday.

Schatz said it will offer more quality, affordable health care choices for families and businesses and prevent insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions—or cancel coverage because of illnesses.

Slom contended the bill will deny people individual choice and the ability to provide basic needs for themselves and their families.

“;This idea of taking away choices and trying to have a one-size-fits-all government program is going to fan further flames of disgust with the political parties,”; he said. “;The Democrats like to call this historic. I think it's more hysteric.”;