The U.S. congressional seat which had been in Republican hands for over 40 years went to Democrat Kathy Hochul last night. In a special election to replace Congressman Chris Lee the democratic challenger was given very little chance of success by Washington insiders.
That is until the U.S. house of Representative passed the Paul Ryan (R-Wis) budget which contained a complete overhaul of the Medicare system. Ryan’s proposal would have turned Medicare into a mostly private system of delivering health care to seniors.
Under the Ryan plan seniors would be given “premium grant awards” which are dependent to some extent on the senior’s income. Seniors would then use these awards to purchase healthcare from the private insurance market.
Is Medicare the bellwether?
There is a suggestion in many camps that Medicare will be the bellwether in deciding the fate of the 2012 election. One cannot predict based on the outcome of one congressional race, but it is true that Hochul was running far behind her Republican opponent Jane Corwin until the Medicare issue became front and center.
In the last few weeks of the campaign the Republican plan to essentially turn Medicare over to the private health insurance market proved to be deadly for the GOP.
Medicare cuts are very much a part of health care reform but the Affordable Care Act does not change the structure of the plan and certainly does not put the health and care of U.S. seniors into the hands of private health insurance companies.
Celebrating her win over Corwin with 48% of the vote to Corwin’s 42%, the Congresswoman elect said
“We can balance our budget the right way – not on the backs of our seniors, but by closing corporate loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas, and ending subsidies to Big Oil and yes, by making the multimillionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.
And we can ensure we do not decimate Medicare. We will keep the promises made to our seniors, who have spent their lives paying into Medicare, so they can count on health care when they need it most.”
The new Congresswoman had been County Clerk of Erie County and will now represent the 26th Congressional District. That District extends from Erie to Rochester, New York.
A third candidate, Jack Davis represented the Tea Party and took 8% of the vote.
Some media outlets reported higher than expected turnout for the special election.
What do you think? Post your comments and opinions here and make your voice heard. Become a part of the discussion and SUBSCRIBE for the latest news.