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Published September 23 2010

Potter defends health law taking effect today

BISMARCK – Sen. Tracy Potter, D-Bismarck, said today marks another milestone in health care reform in the country.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Potter stressed the positive aspects of the health care law that take effect today.

“For parents who have children who have pre-existing conditions, this is going to be a sigh of relief for them, that their children will be able to be covered,” said Potter, a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Health care is a human right that should be available to all Americans, he said.

Potter discussed polls showing the law’s unpopularity and pointed to John F. Kennedy’s book, “Profiles in Courage,” saying it’s about politicians who stood against the popular tide and did what was right.

Potter said Republican challenger Gov. John Hoeven’s opposition to reform is based on what he considers to be the popular position and said that’s how Hoeven will approach the Senate.

“I will take the position that I believe is the correct one and has the biggest impact long term for the United States and North Dakota,” Potter said.

Hoeven campaign spokesman Don Larson said there are some good features of the law that come out on the front end. However, he said $500 billion in new tax increases and $500 billion in cuts to Medicare are coming.

“This is a 2,400-page bill that is going to lead to tens of thousands of pages of new regulations that put the government between individuals and their doctors,” Larson said.

Libertarian candidate Keith Hanson of West Fargo said solving “our supposed health care crisis” should involve less government involvement and more free-market competition.

“There is no question these (health care reform) provisions will benefit a small percentage of people, but in time we will find that this is one more case of a well-intentioned big government scheme that will not deliver on its promises and cost the average worker and small- business owner much more than any politician will admit,” Hanson said.


Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.