Dear Senator Gillibrand,
We share the goal of enacting comprehensive national health care reform. President Obama's sincere efforts to reach bipartisan accord unfortunately met a hollow response from your Republican colleagues -- and I applaud the president, you and Senator Schumer for the progress you continue to achieve on this important issue.
Today, I write you and Senator Schumer asking both of you to put the people of New York first and to ensure, before casting another yes vote, that any new health care policies meet the needs of New York as outlined by both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Paterson. The need for health care reform is crucial -- and so is the need to be fair to New Yorkers.
The health reform bill that you voted to pass would add at least $1 billion a year in new costs to New Yorkers. In light of the state's $14 billion budget deficit and the city's projected $5.5 billion budget deficit, I ask you to protect hard-working New Yorkers from paying the additional fees and taxes that the health bill as currently proposed would surely impose on us.
Moreover, the reported negotiations by other senators to protect their home states from increased Medicaid costs is proof that more can be done on behalf of the 19 million New Yorkers you represent. New York already sends roughly $50 billion more in tax revenue to Washington than we get back each year. It is unfair to working families in our state already struggling to make ends meet to ask them to subsidize health care in other parts of the country.
So I'm asking both of you to make a public commitment to vote against any health care legislation that imposes increased financial burdens on New Yorkers.
I served in Congress and am aware how political pressure can mount to vote for legislation. I call on both of you to show courage and independence and withhold a yes vote on health care until the interests of New York families are satisfied.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Congressman Harold Ford Jr. penned the following letter to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer regarding health care reform:
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