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The health care reform bill the House passed over the weekend is not a panacea, but it will streamline the health care system and slow down the growth in cost, said U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls.

“I think we could have done more in terms of our medical malpractice world to reform it,” he said in a conference call with The Post-Star editorial board on Monday.

He said the bill also creates unnecessary panels and commissions to evaluate long-term employment needs in the health care field.

“I think the market can solve that,” he said. “We’ve got, and you can look and see where the jobs are. I don’t think we need government to try to plan out all of those things in the future.”

Murphy, who voted in favor of the bill, said he came to his decision gradually as he read the bill section-by-section over the past few weeks.

One of things he discovered, on page 157 of the version he was reading, is that members of Congress and their staff will be covered under the same exchanges that will be offered to the general public.

“Under this legislation, we will go into the exchange that all of our small businesses and families are using,” he said. “And that gives me more comfort that people here really believe this is going to work, and average Americans should feel more confident that members of Congress are putting their money where their mouth is.”

Murphy said his office received about 20,000 telephone calls and e-mails last week regarding the health care bill, about evenly split between those in favor and against.

“I had one staffer who answered 300 calls in one day,” he said.

“One of the things that was frustrating to me about it was that half or more of them were from people from outside the district who were calling to lobby on behalf of one interest group or another or one perspective or another, which is fine. But we were so busy, I wanted to hear from people in the 20th District,” he


Murphy said the version the House passed on Sunday contains many differences from the version he voted against last year.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that they are fundamentally different bills,” he said.

The latest version does not require businesses with fewer than 50 employees to provide health insurance and does not adversely affect area paper mills and medical device plants.

The latest version has provisions to address fraud and waste that were not in

the first bill, but more still could be done, Murphy


He said he cornered U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius last week at an event in Washington and discussed his ideas about how to crack down on Medicare



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