I don't try to hide how much I respect Congressman Altmire. The most admirably trait of Congressman Altmire is how much he cares about representing the complex 4th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. During the healthcare debate Altmire was attacked by the extremes of both side and insisted on taking the time to actually wait for the bill to be released and listen to as many constituents as possible before he made his vote. Congressman Altmire has repeatedly said that the 4th Congressional District was overwhelmingly against the so called 'Obamacare' and that was one of the main reasons for his no vote.
My opinion on the healthcare bill is as such. We need healthcare reform on two fronts:
1. We need to bring down the cost of healthcare. The cost is breaking the backs of small businesses and our governments at every level. Healthcare costs are being spent on paperwork and executives instead of true care.
2. We need fair coverage for all that will not bankrupt our Medicare/Medicaid spending and overall government spending.
While the Democrats ran on the platform of going after both fronts of the healthcare battle, at some point they decided one was better than the other. My opinion is that this move was made to appease the doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies because all the healthcare bill did was shift the cost to the government. So instead of attacking the biggest healthcare problem facing our economy and small businesses everywhere, the White House and Democratic leadership said we'll try to pull the moral card in the press and just say we are covering everyone!
This didn’t work because unless someone had a personal experience with not getting healthcare coverage or someone close to them (that they don't judge negatively as lazy) that has had an issue with not having insurance the regular citizen isn’t going to (as Bill Clinton would have said) "feel your pain."
So Congressman Jason Altmire made the right decision by doing his job and trying to fight for deficit reducing measures to be included in a healthcare law. At the end of the day, not only did the healthcare bill add billions of dollars to our debt, but the 4th Congressional District didn't want it passed. Congressman Altmire did the right thing by representing the constituents that he serves and not the party he belongs too.
What did Congressman Altmire get for this thoughtful concept of governing for the people and from the middle? He got a lot of right wing candidates that said he was just pandering and Altmire didn't do enough. To me the only issue any Rothfus supporter had was about voting against anyone with a dreaded D next to their name.
“Altmire can say that he voted against it, but he did not stop the agenda,” Rothfus said.
Rothfus says it's not enough that Altmire didn't vote for President Barack Obama's health care law
Even though Mr. Altmire didn't vote for the health care bill, Mr. Rothfus said Altmire should have been more forceful in his denunciation of the bill instead of sitting on the fence for so long.
Although he did come to the right decision, he shouldn't have sat on the fence as long as he has," Ms. Buchanan said. "People in the district have been clear they are opposed to 'Obamacare.'
Keith Rothfus: “Jason Altmire needs to say no to the new packaging of this old plan. We need to provide more options for health care coverage, including interstate marketing of insurance, tax fairness for individuals who buy their own insurance, and tort reform. We do not need a rehash of the legislation that was overwhelmingly rejected less than a year ago.”
So to my Republican neighbors and friends that tell me that Congressman Altmire is just a lapdog for Pelosi (FYI - He didn't vote for her as Minority Leader) and all the other hypocritical right wing talking points you are spewing, remember that according to Sean Hannity Congressman Altmire is a healthcare reform hero and a GREAT AMERICAN. (Altmire clip is around 1:20)