Behind the health care vote

The House last night voted 220-to-215 to pass the health care bill. The vote was not surprising. All but one Republican voted against it, joined by mostly conservative Democrats, including 7th District Rep. Colin Peterson of Minnesota.

The New York Times, however, has a fascinating graphic showing the “no” Democrats. Peterson had the 4th largest margin of victory in his last election of those who voted no (and weren’t unopposed).

Not far behind was Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota.

Eight of the Democrats represented districts carried by Barack Obama in the last election, an increasingly questionable yardstick for political punditry, since the presidential election is at least as much about the opponent who’s running (and his vice presidential pick, occasionally) as it is about the candidate who carried the district.

The Times attempted to link the percentage of uninsured residents of each district (who weren’t elderly) with the “no” vote. In Peterson’s district, for example, only 11% of non-elderly residents don’t have insurance.

The intent of the graphic appears to be to show the factors that went into the “no” vote besides the bill itself. But it actually suggests that most of the “no” votes among Democrats had more to do with their opinion that it’s a bad bill.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, took a different approach to linking external factors to the votes. It provides a graphic showing campaign contributions from the health care industry. Curiously, however, it shows that most of the lawmakers with the biggest war chests from the health care industry voted “yes.”

And with all of the votes displayed, rather than just the Democrat “no” votes, the Post does a better job of relating the percentage of uninsured in a district, with the representative’s vote.

  • jane

    Interesting… why they did what they did. Good article. Can’t help thinking about all the constituents who accept Medicare (i.e. “government health care”) NOW , when ever they go to their clinic or hospital……

  • Robert Moffitt

    I’m more interested in the story behind the lone “Yes” Republican than the “No” Democrats.

  • karen

    One wonders why some Democrats — adherents to a party that associates itself with reasonably progressive policies — don’t simply switch parties? The reform bill that passed the House was hardly revolutionary. Herseth-Sandlin also cravenly voted against the Waxman-Markey climate bill, and Peterson, after bulldozing a lot of farm-friendly amendments into the bill, has publicly declared that he might vote against a conference version. Do these legislators have no care for how history will judge them. Progressive voters in their districts need to make their voices heard.