When Utah Congressman Jim Matheson cast his vote in favor of repealing the 2010 health care reform law Wednesday, he was one of only five Democrats in the House of Representatives to do so. The 6-term lawmaker opposed the bill when it passed out of Congress, but had also previously voted against repealing it once it became law. Jeff Robinson asked Matheson why he voted the way he did.
"I voted against this health care bill right from the start, 3 years ago. I determined that it doesn't do what we need to do in terms of creating a sustainable health care system that's affordable for everyone over the long term."
Although he didn't vote to pass the bill, Matheson did previously vote against repealing it, which he explains this way:
"I think it was important to let the Supreme Court rule. The constitutional questions deserved to be addressed at that time. Since then we've had more opportunity to learn more about the bill and the aspects of it that work and don't work."
The vote has been criticized as a "show vote" because the Senate is unlikely to take up the bill and President Obama has vowed to veto it. Matheson doesn't think that much will be done about health care before November because "there are limited legislative days" and "too much partisanship in both parties."
"There's no question there are good and bad aspects to this bill and the good news is some of the good aspects to this bill, the marketplace has already responded to. in the last month, several of the major insurance companies indicate that regardless of what happens with the actual legislation, they will maintain the provision to allow children to stay on parents' health insurance until their 26, that allow no co-payments on immunizations and other preventative care. The private sector is responding to some of these provisions that I think everyone agrees with."
To fellow democrats who are critical of his vote, he reminds them that voted "no" 3 times against the bill since it was in committee: "I've always expressed reservations about this legislation. There's nothing new here."
Matheson doesn't believe the bill will reign in health care costs, but he has some ideas of what should be addressed in legislation that could cut costs:
"In the broad sense we need to look at the problem of 30% of procedures in America aren't medically necessary. that is remarkable wasteful. We need to look at malpractice reform as one of the answers to that problem. We need to look at payment system reform."
Democratic Utah Congressman Jim Matheson represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District. His opponent in this year’s election is Republican Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love.