U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls, spoke with The Post-Star in a telephone interview Friday evening about his decision to vote "Yes" on President Obama's health care reform plan.
Q: So you were saying in your press release that it was your 4-year-old son Duke that kind of gelled it all together - thinking about his future.
A: "You know what we hear consistently from everybody in the district is that these health care costs and the rate their going up is just killing them.
"I was just talking to Todd Feigenbaum (of Glens Falls) earlier this week - you know Feigenbaum cleaners - and the premiums increased 26 percent this year for their plan.
"It's just unsustainable and you see those numbers and you look at it as I'm looking at my kids and what's life going to be like when they grow up. We've got to do something that's going to slow the growth of our health care costs.
"I don't think this bill's perfect by any means. But I think that it's going to actually help start us down that path of slowing the growth there. And I think that's a critical issue."
Q: Now what about the paper mills with their black liquor (waste product from the pulp making process) and the medical device plants with the taxes that were in the original bill?
A: "Both those issues we've worked hard on and I feel like we've ended up in a good place.
"So we worked with IP (International Paper Co.) and Finch. And the language that's in here about the black liquor credit is not something that's going to impact their business. They're not going to be impacted by this in terms of what they were planning to do and what they're doing going forward. ...
"And the medical device companies we worked on very hard because they're so important to upstate New York. Our district as well as over in the Syracuse area there's so much.
"And we have gotten the language changed. The Senate wanted to put it at $40 billion - the tax - they wanted to double it.
"We got some language changed that is going to include Class 1 devices. So right now, the language that was in the Senate bill when it was done did not include Class 1 devices. The tax is going to be the same amount, but it's going to be spread across also the Class 1 devices - a lot of which are manufactured overseas. They're the less expensive stuff.
"It's going to be great for American manufacturers because we're going to spread that tax around to more people. They're going to have to pay less of it. And a lot of those are some of the foreign manufacturers.
"So I think it's great policy. It's going to help with domestic jobs, and particularly help with jobs in our area.
"So we've been working Covidien and with C.R. Bard and with just a host of the companies that are involved in that area. And I think we came out with a solution that people are feeling like is an improvement."
Q: I understand that President Obama met with you in recent days. What did he have to say to you about this bill?
A: "So, you know, the president and I had a very good conversation about the ways that this bill is trying to keep health insurance costs down for small business and for families.
"It's a critical issue. It's something he's been very focussed on. And I shared my concerns and thoughts about it.
"We talked about Medicare waste and fraud. That's another area where he has been adding language that I think is good. I think that this bill does an awful lot on the Medicare waste and fraud. I don't think it does everything. There's still some ideas. I put out legislation at the end of last year." ...
Q: Republicans say you must have got some kind of favor or something from the president or from Speaker Pelosi to get your vote. What are you bringing back to the district?
A: "That's not the way any of the conversations that I had with the president went. It was all about the policy and how it works and making sure that this is something that's going to work for the people of the 20th District, And that's how I approach it." ...