As we approach the final votes on health care reform, there remains one big question. Do they have the votes in the house to pass it? The first time the house voted on health care reform it was approved narrowly. They now get to vote on the Senate’s version of the bill. The last time 39 Democrats opposed it (220 – 215 vote). There are now 12 additional voters against Health Care Reform following Bart Stupak because of the bills language on abortion. This shows between 45-51 congressmen whose vote decisions are not known to us, when a simple majority of 51 votes are needed to pass or defeat the bill. One of these 51 possible nay votes is Utah’s own Congressman Jim Matheson. Coming from a state known as being highly conservative and very republican it is amusing for him to have such an important swing vote. But the fact remains that Jim Matheson is at the heart of health care drama. In fact he is one of 10 congressmen at the White House tonight discussing their vote.
It is important we here in Utah take full advantage of this opportunity; because we as residents of Utah need to counter the pressure the president is placing on our Congressman. Senator Jim DeMint, makes the case like this, “The President is planning a legislative sleight of hand, with a ‘takeover now, fix it later’ approach. He’ll ask House Democrats to vote for the discredited Senate health care takeover bill and promise to change it later through a budget maneuver called reconciliation.” We need to understand what Rep. Matheson is being told. He is being told that his re-election chances will improve if health care is no longer hanging over and dividing the nation. The American people have short memories even if he votes for this unpopular bill there will be time to win back constituents, or at least help them forget how he voted.
Ours is the opportunity and responsibility to show him the opposite is true. Again from Senator DeMint, “So if they pass this and the president signs it, they’re going to be stuck with it in November. And so will the American people.” This is the message Congressmen Matheson needs to hear from us. We will hold you accountable for your vote come November. The message I feel needs to be sounded is this, “If you support government takeover of health care you should prepare to be replaced by a new congressmen who will repeal the ‘affordable Health Choices Act of 2009’ and repair the damage you caused.”
This is a great opportunity to exercise our influence for good in the country. It is of great importance that we use this opportunity to affect a vote. Congressmen Matheson has invited our feedback and participation on his website, please make sure he hears from you. Let’s not stop with his website alone. Send him letters, email or call his office, visit his office, and make sure your voice is heard. If we are complacent and miss this opportunity to influence our country we will someday regret our inaction.