POLITICS
05/19/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Republicans Voting 'No' On Health Care Reform At Their Own Peril

Republican challengers may see a Democratic vote for health care reform as a genuine opportunity to unseat an incumbent, but Republicans could find themselves voting no at their own peril.

While much has been made of the downside of supporting the bill, little has been said about the risks of opposing the most sweeping health care reform in decades -- after all, there are millions of voters who are either uninsured, have preexisting conditions or otherwise will benefit from provisions in the bill.

Billy Kennedy, the Democrat opposing Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), is one of the first to take advantage of a GOP no vote on health care.

"Virginia Foxx is betraying her constituents as she prepares to vote 'no' on the health care reform bill," Kennedy said in a statement. "It will be devastating for Northwestern North Carolina's working families if reform is not passed."

Kennedy cited recent figures released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee showing the benefits of the bill that Foxx is opposing: 12,000 people with preexisting conditions could get insurance; 119,000 Medicare beneficiaries would have the doughnut hole closed in their prescription coverage; 800 families would be kept from going bankrupt from medical costs; and more than 14,000 small businesses would be subsidized to provide health insurance to their employees.

One Foxx constituent challenged her at a recent town hall, saying he was tired of Washington's excuses for why health care reform couldn't pass.

The bill would extend coverage to 53,000 people in Foxx's district, according to the analysis.

Meanwhile, Kennedy noted, Foxx benefits from taxpayer-funded health care.

"This health care bill has a lot of compromises on all sides," said Kennedy, who supports a public insurance option. "It's not perfect, but doing nothing is unacceptable."