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S.J. Democrat gives thumbs down to health-care reform

Rep. John Adler (D., N.J.) Thursday announced that he will be voting against the final version of health-care overhaul legislation because, he said, it does not do enough to control costs.

"Since June, I have consistently expressed my serious reservations about the House and Senate proposals," Adler said in a statement. "While the final bill takes positive steps to provide insurance coverage for working Americans, I am not satisfied that the final bill will reform our health care system and prevent excessive increases in premiums for families and small businesses."

Adler is in his first term representing South Jersey's Third District, long held by the Republicans. Adler faces a well-financed GOP challenger, former Eagles lineman Jon Runyan, who is the choice of party leaders in the district.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and other Democratic leaders are scrounging for the 216 votes needed to pass the final version of the legislation, seeking to flip some of the 39 Democrats from conservative-leaning districts who, like Adler, voted against the first House version of the legislation last November.

The House is scheduled to vote on Sunday on the version of health care reform the Senate approved on Christmas Eve, as well as a set of amendments making adjustments to it.

"Once again, Congress is failing to make the tough choices," Adler said. "We are missing a critical opportunity to fix our health care system and strengthen American families and small business. We need reforms that will spur job growth and reduce health care costs for future generations."

Contact staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald at 215-854-2718 or