Great statesmen guide their constituents in the right direction

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh is appalled by Rep. Jason Altmire's vote against the health care bill in the House of Representatives (and Rep. Tim Murphy's, as well). Shortly before the vote we read Rep. Altmire's brief statement on his website and we were not impressed.

Extending insurance to 30 million people who do not have it, ending the pre-existing condition dance and forbidding the frequent denial of claims for those who do have insurance is not "simply moving money around within the existing system" as he claims. It is moving toward a more fair and just distribution of that money.

We are not convinced by the "scare the seniors" language we are hearing. For costs to come down as he wishes, we must all share some responsibility. Many of our members are in the Medicare age bracket and have concluded that a reasonable change in Medicare, particularly in the overfunded advantage plans, is a realistic way to ensure that our children, grandchildren and other members of their generation who currently have no insurance at all are able to have their basic health care needs met. Those generations are our country's future.

And, yes, Rep. Altmire was sent to represent his district. But as John F. Kennedy demonstrated in his book "Profiles in Courage," sometimes you have to lead your constituents, as have the great statesmen of our country's history, particularly where the national interest conflicts with constituents' narrowly perceived self-interest.

We already have the "system of winners and losers" Rep. Altmire mentions. We need to expand the circle of winners. Health care is an issue of justice. We expected more courage from Rep. Altmire to achieve greater justice.


League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh


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