Titus voices support for health care reform bill

Rep. Dina Titus says she'll support health insurance reform proposed in the House of Representatives, the third member of Nevada's five-person congressional delegation to support reform bills.

House Resolution 3962 "takes important steps to make health insurance more affordable and accessible," the Nevada Democrat said in a statement.

In July Titus voted against a version of reform presented to the House Education and Labor Committee, in part because a surtax would have been applied to individuals making $280,000 or more and families making $350,000 or more, to pay for it, she said.

The latest version of the bill would increase those thresholds to $500,000 and $1 million, respectively.

"For more than six months I have discussed the need for health care reform with my constituents, and time and again I have heard from small-business owners who are struggling to afford health care coverage," Titus stated. "With a large number of small businesses in my suburban Southern Nevada district, it is critical that we do everything we can to strengthen their hand so they can be critical engines of growth in our community."

Titus joins Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., among Nevada elected officials in favor of health care reform legislation.

"I can't stand here today and tell you that this legislation will solve every health care problem we face as a nation, but I can tell you this, that 460,000 Nevadans ... have no health insurance at all," Berkley said Tuesday.

"In my district alone, this bill will provide coverage for 163,000 of my fellow Nevadans," she said.

In Las Vegas, 200,000 households will receive credits to make insurance more affordable, and 16,000 small businesses will get a tax credit to make it easier to cover to employees, she said.

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., whose district is mostly in Northern Nevada, and U.S. Sen. John Ensign, a Republican, have been critical of reform proposals.

As a whole, Nevadans have mixed feelings about health reform.

Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, said his most recent survey says 49 percent of voters statewide oppose reforms proposed by President Barack Obama and 43 percent are in favor.

Coker said he doesn't have figures broken down by congressional district, but Berkley's district is reliably Democratic and thus more likely to support reforms. Heller's district tilts Republican, and Titus' is the most evenly split of the three.

"That could be a risky vote," he said of Titus' decision to support the initiative.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@ reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861.