The entire Bay Area Congressional delegation voted for health-care reform last night, giving President Obama a huge legislative victory. Pleasanton Democrat Jerry McNerney, who represents the only Bay Area district in which Republicans hold a majority, decided to vote for the historic reform package on Saturday, after wavering as an undecided vote for weeks. “Now is the time to deliver reform for thousands of families who face financial crisis to afford medical care and for the small business owners who are struggling to keep their doors open,” McNerney said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
Republicans are already vowing to use McNerney's vote against him this November, but their threats likely won’t do him much damage, especially after voters start to realize some of the immediate benefits of the health-care reform package. For example, in the coming months, insurance companies will no longer be able to exclude children or kick them off of insurance plans because of illness or so-called “pre-existing conditions.” Insurance companies also will be prohibited from kicking adults off of plans for getting sick. In addition, children also will be able to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. And finally, lifetime coverage limits on insurance plans will be eliminated.
The problem for Republicans is that many of them have supported these popular reforms, and so it will be very difficult for them to hammer Democrats for finally enacting them. And it will be tough for Republicans to win on a promise to rescind health-care reform after voters start to realize that the package is much better for them then they had been led to believe. Also, there was no upside for McNerney to vote against reform since he had already voted for it last fall.