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Rising above politics

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The recently-passed health care reform legislation will affect every American citizen.

On a matter of this broad scope, it is essential that members of Congress place the interests of their constituents first and rise above political party interests where necessary to do so.

It is clear both from Rep. Rick Boucher’s vote and from the reasons for his vote that our congressman understands this necessity.

Boucher’s key concern was that the reform legislation requires massive cuts in Medicare funding. Over the coming decade, the legislation requires that Medicare spending be reduced by almost a half-trillion dollars.

The reality is that the cost of the health care reform is largely being paid for by senior citizens and other Medicare recipients for whom services will be substantially reduced.

This really matters in the Ninth District where there are 31 percent more Medicare beneficiaries than in the typical congressional district.

Boucher saw that a disproportionate number of Ninth District residents would be hurt by the bill, and he voted accordingly. As Boucher indicated in his public statements on the matter, reform is needed, but its costs should be borne more equitably and not largely by those who depend on Medicare for their healthcare support.

Public service is a balancing act. Boucher had to balance good aspects of the bill, and he acknowledges there are many, with the harm to a large number of constituents.

He came down on the side of “no.”

I happen to agree with him. In voting no, Boucher was protecting those of his constituents most in need of protection.

Not an easy vote, but then Boucher has never shied away from making difficult votes when he believed them to be in the best interests of constituents.

Partisan threats against Rep. Boucher are disappointing and discouraging, yet typical of the toxic political climate in our nation on both sides of the political spectrum.

Fortunately, in Boucher we have someone who determines the effect of legislation on his congressional District and votes accordingly. I am very proud to have him as our representative.