On Tuesday March 23, a major overhaul in the relationship between us and our federal government occurred when President Obama signed into law the National health Care legislation passed by congress. With that signing, health care became a right. No matter what one my feel about this legislation, it is historic.
In that light, I asked nine elected official not previously part of the Question and Answer series their opinion of this new law. Four took the time out of their busy schedule to let you know what they think. I thank them for participating.
Anthony. J. Bazzo
Question: What is your opinion of the new Health care Law? How do you think it will affect your constituents?
Don Bennett Jr.Deputy Mayor City of Peekskill
Health Care reform is necessary in order to provide support for families in need. The process may not be neat and clean, but if prior administrations and congress had done even smaller steps previously, we would not be facing the push back today. Locally the reform will have minimal immediate effect. However after full implementation time families, small businesses and the community will receive better health services without financial risk.
Drew Claxton, Peekskill City Councilwoman
The Health Reform bill that became law this week is an historic accomplishment. The bill reigns in the worst practices of the insurance industry and expands coverage to nearly 95% of Americans. No child in the Unites States will ever be denied insurance because they were born with a health defect, no family will go bankrupt because their coverage was capped at an arbitrarily low threshold, seniors will no longer be denied reimbursement for their prescriptions, and, in this difficult jobs climate, young adults can remain on their parent’s coverage through age 26. This was accomplished with fiscal prudence and works to cut the waste and fraud that has driven our healthcare premiums through the roof. This bill is a win-win-win: a win for millions of people who have been denied insurance, a win for controlling healthcare costs, and a win for the long-term fiscal health of our country.
Marybeth McGowan Peekskill City Councilwoman
I’ve worked in the healthcare industry my entire career. Reform is and will continue to be a challenge, but it is necessary. This health care bill took the first steps toward insuring what I believe is a basic right – healthcare coverage for all citizens. Is it perfect? I suspect not. But some critical items have been addressed that affect many of my constituents positively, like extending coverage for their dependents to age 26, insuring that they cannot lose their coverage for pre-existing conditions should they change or lose their job. Tax credits and insurance exchanges will make affordable insurance available to small businesses and individuals who previously could not afford it. And, it will provide some cost reduction to seniors for prescription drugs. It may not be perfect, but it is hopefully the beginning of true reform.
Peter J. Tripodi IV Councilman , Town of Ossining
The health insurance debate is a very important discussion this country should have had years ago. However, the bill that passed Congress last week was not about healthcare reform at all. It was about the freedom to choose and the role of government in this choice – a strong statement I believe many of my Democratic colleagues can identify with. I went a little over a year without health insurance; BECAUSE I CHOSE TO DO SO. Many people in their 20’s (I am 24) go without health insurance simply because we do not want it. Now the federal government is going to tell us that we must have health insurance? Am I supposed to honestly believe that the government knows what is best for me, even more than I do? Every man has faults and this simple theory applies for government as well; no government is perfect. In the words of George Washington, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”