Salazar to back health-care bill unveiled by Pelosi on Thursday

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., said he will support the health care measure unveiled Thursday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Salazar, whose spokesman last week denounced his listing as a supporter of the public-option for health care by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, said the bill met several of his conditions.

“The House is set to pass this landmark health care reform legislation, and I will support it,” he said in a statement to The Daily Sentinel on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, the National Republican Congressional Committee circulated by e-mail a photo showing Salazar in the background as the bill was unveiled.

“He chose Pelosi,” after Salazar “evaded and misled his constituents for months,” the GOP said.

Salazar is “supporting a government takeover of health care that raises taxes, forces millions of Americans out of their current coverage and may destroy millions of American jobs,” RNCC spokeswoman Joanna Burgos said.

The measure includes a so-called “public option” or government-provided health insurance.

Salazar previously has said he would support the public option if it was necessary to reform the health-care system.

He didn’t refer to the public option in his statement, but said his district, which includes most of western and southern Colorado, would benefit from the measure.

“At my request, the speaker and the White House included negotiated rates which greatly benefit rural America and districts like the Third that are disadvantaged by the current system,” Salazar said in the statement. “I also asked, and it was included, that the secretary be allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices with manufacturers — a move that will save us billions of dollars.”

He also praised the measure, saying it would immediately end discrimination for pre-existing medical conditions, prevent people who become ill from losing coverage, eliminate co-pays for preventive care, place yearly caps on what individuals pay and eliminate waste, fraud and overpayments to private insurance companies.

“Any American that has insurance will be able to keep their doctor and their plan,” he said. “This bill provides affordability for all Americans, security to our seniors and responsibility to our children by not adding to the deficit.”


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