Lincoln calling | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lincoln calling

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Sen. Blanche Lincoln held a conference call with reporters late this morning.  Most questions revolved around health care reform although the senator did spend a good deal of time talking about climate change.  More about that on the jump. 

On health care, Lincoln stressed the importance of being more efficient with health care spending.  She said that we need to make sure insurers understand they cannot withhold insurance because of a pre-existing condition or drop people just because they become ill.  When asked about all the third party groups getting involved in the debate, Lincoln said hearing from various constituencies was very important but everyone needed to "keep our eye on the ball," and provide needed reforms.

"I’ve been disappointed in the polarization of these different groups who either want too much or too little and they’ve just polarized around a government plan and that’s such a small part of any of this. We’ve got so many things that we can agree on and we should agree on those things and move forward," Lincoln said. 

In terms of a final senate vote on a health care bill, Lincoln said it was unlikely to happen before Thanksgiving.  "The House is projected to have a vote on this on Saturday, so we’re waiting to see what the bill is going to be," she said.  "We don’t know. I know what we did in finance and I was very proud of what we did. I felt we made great strides in improving and expanding health care accessibility and quality. We did so without adding any extra burden on the taxpayers or the treasury."

More on the jump, plus a response from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

On climate change, as with health care, Lincoln stressed the importance of taking the time to make sure any new legislation was "done correctly."

"We’ve got to make sure we don’t increase the price of food for consumers, make sure we don’t put our farmers and our producers out of business, we need to make sure we don’t see outrageous increases in utility costs. I think there’s many of us that are really anxious to look at these problems we all share, but we also know we need to do it… I will be a strong voice for agriculture and rural communities in the climate change debate."

Lincoln said the biggest issue for Arkansans was still the economy and when asked what she thought about groups like MoveOn.org threatening to help fund a Democratic primary challenger Lincoln replied, "not much."

Response from Amber Wilkerson Marchand, NRSC:

“Blanche Lincoln may believe that a government takeover of America’s health care system is ‘such a small part of any of this,’ but the families, seniors, and small business owners who will end up paying for this massive proposal certainly disagree with the Senator’s assessment. This costly plan would drive up the price of health care and cut benefits for seniors in Arkansas, and Blanche Lincoln should immediately tell her constituents whether she will vote to allow this bill to move forward to the Senate floor. A vote in favor of cloture is a vote in favor of a President Obama’s government-run health care plan.”

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