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Saturday, March 20, 2010

 3:46 PM 

Kagen to vote yes on health care bill

Ending days of speculation about which way he would vote on the health care reform bill, U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen announced today in a press release that he will support it.

"We are beginning to fix what is broken and improving on what we already have at a price we can all afford to pay," said Kagen, a Democrat from Appleton. "This bill saves lives and jobs by putting patients first, strengthening Medicare and guaranteeing access to affordable care for all of us."

The bill is expected pass the House this weekend, and could get through the Senate and to President Barack Obama's desk by the end of next week.

Third-party groups have spent $156,925 this month on health care TV ads in Kagen's home district, with the majority urging Kagen to vote against the bill.

Kagen, who is a doctor and ran a successful allergy clinic before going to Congress, has made health care reform his signature issue, and he voted for the initial plan the House approved last year. But he had sent mixed signals recently, and his office did not return calls and e-mails this week seeking comment.

The press release says today, Kagen "secured payment adjustments for Wisconsin hospitals and doctors who care for patients on Medicare. These adjustments and a new independent study to assess geographical disparities in Medicare payments by the Institute of Medicine, will correct a decades-old formula that punished Wisconsin health care providers who provide some of the highest quality care in the nation."

The press release goes on to state that the benefits for Kagen's 8th Congressional District include improved coverage for 475,000 residents with health insurance, tax credits and other assistance for up to 186,000 families and 17,200 small businesses to help them afford health insurance coverage, and closing the "donut hole" for Medicare beneficiaries.


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