Republicans and talk radio hosts have been blasting the Obamacare healthcare law relentlessly for five full years, but former U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd sees it differently.
On the recent fifth anniversary of the first committee vote in favor of the bill, Dodd talked to Capitol Watch about how he took over for the ailing Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts in a key Senate committee during the hot summer of 2009 to pass a historic bill.
The final bill did not pass until Christmas Eve, and it has become one of the most-talked about pieces of legislation in American history. While the critics disagree, Dodd says that the law is working.
Dodd, who did not seek reelection to the Senate in 2010 and is now chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, was in the legislative trenches when the heavy lifting began in the summer of 2009.
“We started in June and went day after day after day, including weekends,” Dodd said in an interview. “788 amendments were filed. It took 23 days of work – actual sessions. 287 amendments were actually debated. 161 Republican amendments were accepted. When people tell me this was not bipartisan – 49 Republican amendments were rejected, but 161 were accepted. 161 became the law of the land.”
Dodd said he believes those numbers have not been widely reported, saying that many citizens are completely unaware that 161 Republican amendments became part of Obamacare.
“On a personal note, in that month, my sister Martha, died,” Dodd said of her death on July 6, 2009. “Ted Kennedy, my dearest friend in the Senate, died. It was a lot, personally and substantively.”
All of this work on healthcare was before the August break in 2009 – when critics started picking apart the bill.
“Tremendous misinformation occurred – things like death panels,” Dodd said. Continue reading