Do the Right Thing

3912_healthcare-debateA political paradox in the healthcare debate lies in the fact that some members of Congress – whose constituents will benefit the most from reform legislation – oppose the bill. A study by the Urban Institute found there are 20 congressional districts where more than 30 percent of the residents lack even the most basic form of healthcare coverage.  California, Florida and Texas are home to 18 of those districts.

In three Florida districts where the uninsured comprise one-third of the population, the Republican representatives are solid in their opposition to healthcare reform.  Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, whose south Florida district has 31 percent uninsured residents, bases his opposition on the belief that none of the Democrats’ proposals will cover all of his constituents.  “My constituents, they also understand that they are the ones that get stuck with the bills,” he said.

On the opposite side of the aisle, Texas Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar, whose district is in 10th place on the uninsured list, fears that cuts in Medicare will be used to pay for the expanded coverage.  Cuellar’s district includes a significant senior citizen population.

By contrast, Southern California’s districts with the most uninsured residents are Los Angeles and Orange County, home to many immigrants and low-income groups.  These areas are represented by Democrats who support healthcare reform, which would provide significant benefits to their constituents.

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