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Boccieri to Vote ‘Yes’ on Health Care Bill

Updated: 11:31 a.m.

House Democratic leaders added another key vote Friday morning, with Rep. John Boccieri (D-Ohio) switching from “no” to “yes” on the health care overhaul.

The move was not unexpected; House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) had predicted Boccieri would vote “yes” in a recent television interview.

Boccieri said that the story of Natoma Canfield, a cancer-stricken Ohio woman without health insurance highlighted by President Barack Obama, reminded him of his own family’s health issues.

“I remember standing at the foot of my mother’s bed when she told me she had breast cancer,” the freshman lawmaker said. “Thank God she had health insurance.”

Boccieri said that 39,000 residents of his district do not have health insurance and 9,800 have pre-existing conditions and will benefit from the bill.

“If in this job I can save one life … this job is worth it,” he said. “There are too many politicians worried about their future” and which party will control the House of Representatives, Boccieri said.

“Who’s worried about Natoma keeping her house?”

Boccieri spoke at a sun-drenched press conference outside the Capitol with Ohio residents who have been shut out by the private insurance industry, including a 10-year-old boy repeatedly denied insurance because he has autism.

Boccieri noted that the overhaul will quickly ban insurance companies from barring children with pre-existing conditions from coverage. A comprehensive ban on excluding people with pre-existing conditions would take effect in 2014, when new insurance exchanges are created.

Boccieri also said that he did not receive any special favors for his vote, beyond the health care it would provide for his constituents and the deficit reduction that the bill would generate.

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