Congressman Cao Against Health Revamp

HealthSocial IssuesElectionsAbortion IssueThe Associated PressSteve ScaliseRodney Alexander

Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao, the onlyRepublican to vote for a Democrat-backed health care overhaul latelast year, doesn't expect to do so again when the Senate versioncomes up for a vote this weekend.

"At this point, I'm pretty much a definite no," he told TheAssociated Press on Thursday evening.

Absent a late change of heart by Cao, the state's seven-memberHouse delegation is expected to unanimously oppose the Senateversion of the bill that will likely be voted on in the House thisweekend.

Abortion remains a sticking point for Cao, a staunch opponent oflegal abortion. In Washington, abortion opponents disagree onwhether restrictions on taxpayer funding go far enough in theSenate bill. Cao, an attorney, said he has studied the Senatelanguage and it doesn't go far enough to prohibit governmentfunding of abortions.

Cao said he believes the House bill he voted for did a betterjob of addressing the cost of health care, as well as coverage.Absent the abortion controversy, Cao said he would "lean yestowards the Senate bill," even though he believes the House billhe voted for last year did a better job of addressing the cost ofhealth care, as well as coverage.

Rep. Charlie Melancon of Napoleonville, the only Democrat in thedelegation, broke with his party to vote no on the House bill andis on record in opposition to the Senate measure.

"I am opposing the Senate bill and the reconciliation packagebecause they cost too much and don't do enough to lower health carecosts for middle class families and small businesses," Melanconsaid in a statement Friday. Melancon is running for the Senate thisyear against incumbent Republican David Vitter, a staunch opponentof the bill.

Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette has been prominent amongHouse members opposing the measure. Reps. Steve Scalise ofJefferson, Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, Rodney Alexander of Quitmanand John Fleming of Shreveport are all on the record against thebill.

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