Following a controversial vote that helped health care reform pass, Bart Stupak is leaving Congress. On Friday, the Michigan legislator released a statement. It reads:
The people of Northern Michigan have provided me with the honor of representing them in Congress for the past 18 years. I am truly grateful for their support.
I have the distinct honor of serving as your Congressman longer than any other member in modern times — longer than Bob Davis, Phil Ruppe, or John Bennett.
When I first ran for Congress in 1992, I campaigned on a pledge to make affordable, quality health care a right, not a privilege, for all Americans. I promised the people of the First District that I would not accept the insurance that Members of Congress receive – the Federal Employees Health Benefit Package – until all Americans could have access to that same quality of care. For the last 18 years, I have kept that promise.
Since the day I took office, I have fought to improve the quality and accessibility of health care for people throughout Northern Michigan, and across this country. Despite many set backs, in the process and in politics, I never gave up hope, and I never gave in. As a result, we’ve made significant progress.
Today, in Northern Michigan, eleven Community Based Outpatient Veterans Clinics have been established to provide veterans with the care they need and deserve.
Broadband access for Northern Michigan hospitals serves as a model for the country of how to improve the quality and efficiency of care andlower costs in rural areas.
We’ve improved emergency rooms and provided updated diagnostic technology, leading to improved medical treatment and critical prevention services.
And, last month, we finally accomplished what I set out to do 18 years ago – we passed comprehensive national health care reform!
Throughout the past year, I have worked alongside my colleagues to achieve health care reform and I’m proud to have helped bring it across the finish line.
As a result of that work, today we are on a path to provide health insurance for 32 million more Americans, including 38,000 people living in Northern Michigan.