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Congressman has health care on mind

Pike County’s Congressman Bobby Bright made a stop in Troy Monday afternoon to visit with those in downtown.

There was talk of campaigning, religion and just casual conversation from Bright, D-Montgomery and former Montgomery mayor, to now Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford over Byrd Drug sandwiches.

But, above all Bright said health care was the message he wanted to bring to his voters.

After Congress gave a national health care overhaul the OK, Bright said there’s several aspects of the bill that need addressing.

“The health care issue — it’s here now,” Bright said. “Now, let’s see what we need to do to make it better.”

What Bright said he disagrees with mainly in the legislation is requiring people to purchase health insurance and taxing them as a penalty.

“We need to take away the mandates of tax increases on individuals and businesses and mandates of everyone having to purchase it,” Bright said. “We’ve sent 32 million new customers to the insurance industries, making them larger.”

Alabama Legislators are working to pass a bill that will exempt the state’s residents from being penalized for not having health insurance, an effort Bright said he supports in part.

“I support their efforts to undue the mandate that requires people to purchase insurance,” he said. “There is some good things about (the bill), though, and to say let’s appeal the whole thing is immature politics.”

Some of those “good things,” he said, are coverage for children and removing clauses on preexisting conditions.

Bright said he’s also heard many of his district’s residents upset about spending.

“I think people in my District think Washington is out of control They want to see us come down to practical government, be fiscally sound in spending and stay out of their everyday lives,” he said.

And, he said before the session ends this term, he hopes to pass a bill that will amend the budget and balance it.

“We know cities have to balance budgets by law,” he said. “If we could pass this it would help reduce out of control spending.”