Randy Neugebauer's district to get an assist from health-care overhaul
By Shailagh Murray
The battle line is drawn for the 2010 midterm elections. Democrats will try to convince skeptical voters that the health-care overhaul was a good idea, while Republicans campaign on a pledge to repeal the massive bill, signed Tuesday by President Obama.
But one little-noted aspect of reform is that some of the most conservative regions of the country stand to benefit most from the bill's many provisions. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has posted detailed data for all 435 House districts -- and some of the biggest winners aren't exactly liberal bastions.
Take the 19th Congressional District of Texas, a seat held by GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer, an opponent of the legislation who shouted "baby killer" on the House floor Sunday night to protest abortion language in the bill.
Neugebauer described the legislation as "misguided" and "flawed," and said in a statement released Sunday, "The 19th District doesn't understand why the House leadership insists on going down the road of trying to enact a government takeover of health care that our nation can't afford and that will not improve their health care."
But Texas boasts the highest uninsured rate in the country -- 28 percent as of 2009, meaning more one in four residents of the Lone Star State don't have coverage. Many who live in the 27 counties of West Texas that constitute the 19th District stand to reap substantial benefits under the reform bill, according to the Energy and Commerce data.
Here are a few highlights:
• 186,000 families and 14,600 small businesses in the 19th District will be eligible for tax credits, Medicaid, or other forms of federal health-insurance assistance.
• Insurance companies will be barred from denying coverage to the district's 16,000 uninsured residents with pre-existing medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease and asthma.
• The 7,700 Medicare beneficiaries represented by Neugebauer who paid extra for prescription drugs because of a coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole," will see those additional costs erased.
• Up to 66,000 young adults in the 19th District will be eligible to join their parents' health plans.
• The district's 26 community health centers will receive a total of $33.8 million in additional federal support.
Compare that to the 9th Congressional District of New York, represented by Rep. Anthony Weiner, one of the Democrats' most outspoken reform advocates. New York's uninsured rate stands at 18 percent, and as a result, Weiner's district stands to gain less from the bill.
• A total of 144,000 families and 11,800 small businesses in the 9th District will receive health-insurance assistance under the bill.
• Some 8,000 uninsured residents with pre-existing conditions may not be denied coverage.
• Up to 45,000 young adults can join their parents' coverage.
• Four community health centers will receive $5.2 million in assistance.
Weiner's district, which includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn, does lead Neugebauer's in one category: Medicare recipients stuck in the "doughnut hole." An estimated 9,700 Medicare beneficiaries in the 9th District will see their drug costs decline under the bill.
March 24, 2010; 2:53 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing , Health Care
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