In The News

On the Eve of Historic Health Reform Bill Gohmert Speaks Out

Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel

the Democrats seem poised to pass their health care reform bill on Sunday, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler
By TRENT JACOBS
As the Democrats seem poised to pass their health care reform bill on Sunday, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, is speaking out against the legislation that he calls a "monstrosity."
Earlier in the week, Gohmert made headlines on political blogs and the left-leaning "Daily Show" for calling the bill an "abortion," claiming that "demons" had infested the Capitol and that anyone who votes for the health care bill should have to "eat it" first.

And while the stage is set for one of the most historic votes in American history, safe passage of the reconciliation bill that will extend health coverage to 32 million Americans, or 95 percent of the entire population, isn't guaranteed, as still a few Democratic holdouts remain.

On Friday, Gohmert said he thinks the vote could still go either way, but he is concerned that political favors offered to Democratic no-votes at the 11th hour will come into play.

"They're really going to have to bring out the checkbook or promise great jobs for anyone who will switch their vote," Gohmert said from his office inside the U.S. Capitol Building. "I hope that the 'nos' will stay 'nos,' and then we can start over with a different bill and work on the things that we agree on."

Chief among the reasons some Democrats are still opposed to the bill is the issue of abortion. Virtually every Republican and just a handful of Democrats contend that the restrictions in the bill are not strong enough to prevent federal funds from being used for elective abortions.
And despite Democratic assurances that the existing federal restrictions that prevent federal monies from being used for abortions remain entirely intact in the House bill, there is still concern over the Senate bill that would allow people to buy insurance that covers abortion - even though the insurance companies would be legally obligated to pay for the abortions with patient premiums, and not taxpayer subsidies.

Gohmert sides with those who believe that federal funds will still find their way into abortion clinics across the country. He says, "There are federal tax dollars, if this bill passes, that will be used to purchase insurance that funds abortion and to provide abortions directly.

"Abortions are the big issue, and prying tax dollars away from citizens who know in their heart that abortions are killing little babies, saying 'I'm gonna use the money I pried from your hands to fund the killing of little babies' is what the outrage is about."

Though the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came out on Wednesday and said that the health care bill before Congress would cost $940 billion and would cut $138 billion out of the national deficit in the first 10 years of enactment, Gohmert isn't buying it. He accused the federal score keepers of running interference for the Democratic leadership.
"The CBO has been wrong over and over and over. If the CBO was truly objective then they would have scored some of the 70 Republican health care reform bills. So far they've scored 50 health care bills and only six of them were Republican," Gohmert said. Among those reform bills not scored was Gohmert's own.

Gohmert said that if the bill does pass, people can expect to hear calls for repeal on Republican campaign trails during the midterm elections, although the road to repeal is rough and bumpy.

"If the House and Senate were taken over by Republicans, I am sure that one of the things we'd try to do is repeal this thing," Gohmert said. "But the problem is, even if Republicans have the majority in the House and the Senate, the president, based on his philosophy, would veto any such bill."

To override a veto, the Republicans would need a two-thirds majority in both houses, which by most calculations is a virtual impossibility.

Despite his fervent opposition, Gohmert agrees that health care in America does need an overhaul. Things like allowing people to buy insurance across state lines and disallowing insurance companies to drop sick people's coverage because of pre-existing conditions are good ideas that he supports.

He just won't support them as long as they are included in the present bill that he says is overreaching.

"We do need reform. We need transparency, and there's a lot of things we agree on," Gohmert said. "But the trouble is that those things that are easy agreements between Republicans and Democrats are things that they don't want to have passed in a free-standing bill, because they've got so much control over peoples lives that they want to legislate, and they want it included in the bill."