Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow said Friday he would not support the federal health care reform legislation scheduled for a vote this weekend.
Barrow, whose 12th District represents a portion of the Augusta area, issued a statement saying he wants reform but has too many problems with the bill supported by the White House and Democratic leadership.
"I am strongly in favor of reforming the health care system, but I don't think this bill is going to do it, and therefore I can't support it," he said. "It puts too much of the burden of paying for it on working folks who are already being overcharged, and that's not fair. It threatens to overwhelm Medicaid in Georgia, and that's not right. And it barely touches the insurance companies, and that's not smart. We can do better, and I'm ready to start."
Barrow's statement follows a letter Gov. Sonny Perdue sent to him and Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., earlier this week.
The Republican governor warned that the health care bill could hinder the state's ability to rebound economically and force tax increases or cuts to services.
"Economic recovery will only come when Congress lifts burdens off our businesses and frees our economy to grow," Perdue wrote.
Also on Friday, President Obama made his case in a speech in front of thousands at the Patriot Center in Virginia, arguing that presidents before him have called for improvements to the current system.
"It's a debate that's not only about the cost of health care, not just about what we're doing about folks who aren't getting a fair shake from their insurance companies," Obama said. "It's a debate about the character of our country -- about whether we can still meet the challenges of our time; whether we still have the guts and the courage to give every citizen, not just some, the chance to reach their dreams."