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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Surprise! Israel and Bishop say they'll vote for health bill

As expected, the last two holdouts of the Long Island congressional delegation announced they would vote for the sweeping $940 billion health care bill that will restructure one sixth of the nation's economy.

Democratic Reps. Steve Israel of Huntington and Tim Bishop of Southampton made their announcements yesterday, Israel in a phone call and Bishop in a press release.

Israel said his district is evenly split on the bill. But after assuring himself that New York is not harmed but helped by the bill, and after referring back to the historic Medicare vote in 1965 that drew a similar mixed response, he decided the principled thing to do was to vote yes.

Bishop also noted he had experienced several "blunt conversations with literally thousands of constituents about health care." For him, he said, it boiled down to two simple questions: Does it improve on the status quo, and is he on the side of insurance companies or working families? The answers: yes and working families.

Both had been leaning toward supporting the measure, despite loud opposition in their districts. But few here in Washington doubted they would balk and vote no.

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