Berkley’s Obamacare Vote

Shelley Berkley voted for Obamacare and was a strong advocate for the bill. Obamacare cuts Medicare spending by $500 billion, will stretch the nation’s already fragile budget another $1.76 trillion, and will threaten the number of jobs for thousands of Americans.  After the bill passed, Berkley went so far as to say she would “gladly burn in hell” for voting in favor of Obamacare. 

 Despite Berkley’s rhetoric in support of the new healthcare law, she was not always so passionate.  Berkley was a little squeamish about the bill and did not initially commit to it, but Nancy Pelosi whipped her into line.  In a telephone conversation with a major donor, casino magnate Steve Wynn, Berkley acknowledged it was a “terrible” bill.  Being the wife of a physician, Berkley said she knew it was no good.  However, Berkley said Nancy Pelosi would “punish” her if she didn’t vote for healthcare reform. 

 Berkley had the opportunity to buck her party, but instead she gave in and voted for a bill that she knew was “terrible.”  Unfortunately for Nevadans and Americans, Berkley was more concerned about pleasing her party than doing what she knew was right for the country.



Berkley Voted For The House Healthcare Reform Bill That Included A Public Option. “Passage of the bill that would overhaul the nation’s health insurance system and require most individuals to buy health insurance by 2013. It would create the Health Choices Administration tasked with establishing a federal health insurance exchange, including a government-run public health insurance option, to allow individuals without coverage to purchase insurance. Those that do not obtain coverage would be subject to an excise tax. Excluded from the mandate would be those exempt from filing income tax and others with a hardship waiver. Employers would be required to offer health insurance to employees or contribute to a fund for coverage. Businesses that fail to provide coverage could face penalties of up to 8 percent of their payroll. It would provide tax credits to certain small businesses for providing coverage; provide subsidies to individuals making up to four times the federal poverty level, excluding illegal immigrants; and allow states to enter into compacts to facilitate coverage purchase across state lines. The bill would bar the use of federal funds to provide abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or if the woman’s life is in danger. It also would bar insurance companies from denying or reducing coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions.” (HR 3962, CQ Vote #887, Passed 220 – 215: R 1 – 176; D 219 – 39, 11/7/09, Berkley Voted Yea)


Berkley Voted For The Final Version Of Healthcare Reform. “Spratt, D-S.C., motion to concur in the Senate amendment to the bill that would overhaul the nation’s health insurance system and require most individuals to buy health insurance by 2014. It would create a system of national private insurance plans supervised by the Office of Personnel Management and create state-run marketplaces for purchasing health insurance. Those who do not obtain coverage would be subject to an excise tax. Excluded from the mandate would be those exempt from filing income tax and others with a hardship waiver, religious objection or those who cannot afford coverage. Employers with more than 50 workers would have to provide coverage or pay a fine if any employee gets a subsidized plan on the exchange. Certain small businesses would get tax credits for providing coverage, and those with low incomes, excluding illegal immigrants, could get subsidies. It would bar the use of federal funds to pay for abortions in the new programs, except in the cases of rape or incest or if the woman’s life is in danger. Insurance companies could not deny coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions beginning in 2014, and could not drop coverage of people who become ill. It would expand eligibility for Medicaid, shrink the coverage gap under the Medicare Part D prescription drug program and create an advisory board to reduce the per capita growth rate in Medicare spending.” (HR 3590, CQ Vote #165, Agreed To: 219 – 212: R 0 – 178; D 219 – 34, 3/21/10, Berkley Voted Yea)


The Health Care Law Contains Approximately $500 Billion In Cuts To Medicare. “It would cut an additional $60 billion from Medicare, bringing total cuts to the program to more than $500 billion over the next 10 years. And it would delay a tax on high-cost insurance polices [sic] until 2018, replacing the lost revenue by imposing the Medicare payroll tax on investment income for families earning more than $250,000 a year.” (Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery, “In Senate, GOP Has Last Chance To Change Health-Care Overhaul,” Washington Post, 3/24/10)


  • “In A March 20, 2010 Letter To Speaker Nancy Pelosi, The Congressional Budget Office Estimated That The Reconciliation Proposal Combined With H.R. 3590 As Passed By The Senate Would Result In A $455 Billion Net Reduction In Medicare Spending Over The 2010-2019 Period.” (Congressional Budget Office, “Letter To The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, 3/20/10)


  • “The Reform Plan Includes Cutting The Costs Of Medicare, The Government-Run Health Plan For Seniors, By About $500 Billion.” (“Pelosi: GOP Used Fear To Turn Elderly Against Health Care Bill,” CNN’s Politcal Ticker Blog,, 3/29/10)


In March 2012, The CBO Estimated That The Gross Cost Of Obamacare Would Be $1.762 Trillion. (Congressional Budget Office, “Updated Estimates For The Insurance Coverage Provisions Of The Affordable Care Act,” March 2012)


  • In March 2012, CBO Reported That ObamaCare Will Cost $1.76 Trillion Over Ten Years, Nearly Twice The Amount Of The Original Forecast. “President Obama’s national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new projection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law. Democrats employed many accounting tricks when they were pushing through the national health care legislation, the most egregious of which was to delay full implementation of the law until 2014, so it would appear cheaper under the CBO’s standard ten-year budget window and, at least on paper, meet Obama’s pledge that the legislation would cost ‘around $900 billion over 10 years.’” (Philip Klein, “CBO: Obamacare To Cost $1.76 Trillion Over 10 Yrs,” Washington Examiner, 3/13/12)


The Director Of The CBO Estimated That By 2020 Obamacare Would Cost The Labor Force 800,000 Jobs. CAMPBELL: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman, we’ll — and Dr. Elmendorf — and we’ll continue this conversation right now.  First on health care, before I get to — before I get to broader issues, you just mentioned that you believe — or that in your estimate, that the health care law would reduce the labor used in the economy by about 1/2 of 1 percent, given that, I believe you say, there’s 160 million full-time people working in ’20-’21. That means that, in your estimation, the health care law would reduce employment by 800,000 in ’20-’21. Is that correct?”  ELMENDORF: “Yes. The way I would put it is that we do estimate, as you said, that the household (ph) employment will be about 160 million by the end of the decade.  Half a percent of that is 800,000. That means that if the reduction in the labor used was workers working the average number of hours in the economy and earning the average wage, that there would be a reduction of 800,000 workers.” (Committee On The Budget, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing, 2/10/11)


Berkley Was Open To A Public Option. “At this point, Urey said Berkley is keeping her options open. If a public plan can hold down costs, she would be supportive, he said.  ‘She wants to make sure we know what we’re doing,’ said Urey, who added that Berkley is studying many proposals. ‘She is for extending coverage to 47 million people, that’s for sure.’” (Paul Harasim, “Nevada Lawmakers Agree About Change,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/25/09)


Berkley Said She Would “Gladly Burn In Hell” For Her Healthcare Vote. “She also recounted her response to a person she said told her she was going to ‘burn in hell’ for her health care vote.  ‘I would gladly burn in hell if I knew doing so would give one of my fellow Americans access to affordable health care in this country,’ Berkley said.” (Alan Choate, “Gore Tells Fellow Democrats To Stay United,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/28/10)


Berkley Was Hesitant To Commit To The Final Version Of The Healthcare Bill At First. “Days before the House could vote on health care reform, Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley remains a hold-out, unwilling to tip her hand on how she will vote.  Berkley has had phone calls from two Obama administration cabinet secretaries this week, sources said, showing the lengths the president is going to make certain every yes vote is rounded up.  It’s hard to imagine that Berkley, a six-term Democrat, would switch and vote against the bill after having supported an earlier version in November.” (Lisa Mascaro, “Shelley Berkley Still Undecided On Health Vote?,” Las Vegas Sun, 3/18/10)


WYNN: “I Supported A Democratic Congresswoman Named Shelley Berkley.” (Fox News’ “Cavuto,” 10/21/11)

  • Wynn Resorts Have Contributed At Least $36,100 To Berkley’s Campaigns.  (The Center For Responsive Politics,, Accessed 11/29/11)


  • Wynn Has Personally Given At Least $13,400 To Berkley’s Campaigns. (Federal Elections Commission,, Accessed 12/15/11)

Wynn Suggested Berkley Was Coerced Into Voting For Obamacare. “Wynn in particular had strong words for U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., suggesting she was cowed into voting for health care reform.”  (Steve Tetreault, “POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Wynn’s Wrath Doesn’t Spare Berkley,” Las Vegas Review Journal, 10/31/11)


In A Conversation During The Obamacare Debate, Berkley Told Wynn That Pelosi Would “Punish” Her If She Did Not Vote For Healthcare Reform.  WYNN: “I supported a Democratic congresswoman named Shelley Berkley. I called her during ObamaCare. I said, ‘Shelley, what are you doing? How do you do this? This is killing the unions and all of us that are supplying health care to our employees.’ And so she told me, quote — quote. Now this is not hearsay. Shelley said to me — and she’s running for the Senate. ‘Steve, I know it’s terrible. My husband is a doctor. He hates it, too.’ CAVUTO: ‘Wow!’ WYNN: ‘But if I don’t vote for it, she will punish me’ — she being Nancy Pelosi.’ CAVUTO: ‘Wow!’ WYNN: ‘And I said — I said, Shelley, every politician that’s ever sold out their constituency has had a lame, terrible rationalization like the one you just gave me. Don’t ever call me again.’” (Fox News’ “Cavuto,” 10/21/11)