My note to Senator Bennet re: Senate health care bill
First, below, is a note I sent to Colorado’s junior senator, Michael Bennet, last Thursday. Following my note is the vacuous form letter I received in response.
Dear Senator Bennet,
I realize this note is almost certainly falling on deaf ears, but I’ll try anyway:
I urge you to vote NO in every step of the process regarding Harry Reid’s so-called health care “reform” bill.
The only aspect of health care that the public generally wishes the government would help with is policy changes that are likely to help curb health care price inflation.
The Senate bill (and the House bill) will do just the opposite, massively increasing health insurance premiums and exacerbating all of the facets of our existing system which are causing it to be so expensive and so insulated from the market forces which apply to almost every other business.
The major reforms which need to happen are to allow interstate purchase of insurance and to allow equal tax treatment for individuals and self-employed people as for corporations.
Every aspect of the current Democratic proposals aim to reduce rather than enhance the truly private nature of health care and instead substitute bureaucrats, “efficiency boards", and other politically-motivated and ultimately destructive middlemen.
Again, I understand that you are a leftist and that you are afraid of a primary challenge in which Romanoff will run to your left. So, I understand that you will blindly vote for all this.
Therefore, the best I can hope for with this note is to leave you with the understanding that you will have to live with your vote for the rest of your life as you watch these so-called reforms destroy our health care system and our economy.
(Yes, a non-liberal from Nederland)
And here’s what I got back from their automated response system:
Thank you for contacting me regarding comprehensive health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you.
Coloradans, like all Americans, want a health care system that affords real choice – so you can keep your doctor – and you can select the health coverage that best suits your needs and those of your family. Reform must also end annual double-digit increases to health care costs, and promote better access to affordable quality care for more families. Coloradans want these changes accomplished in a fiscally responsible way. That’s a tall order, but it’s the right one, and simple common sense. We should be open to any and all options that will help achieve these goals.
Coloradans are frustrated because they are seeing double digit increases in their premiums, they do not have adequate access to doctors and nurses and, in many cases, they are being completely shut out of the system.
Small businesses are under enormous pressure to stay competitive in this economy. As health care becomes more costly, small and even large businesses are dropping employer-based coverage, leaving individuals at-risk of unaffordable coverage, or denials due to pre-existing conditions. Colorado leads the nation in entrepreneurship and innovation and we cannot allow health care costs to continue to be such a burden to our businesses.
We must also invest in cutting-edge medical research to save lives and bring competitive biotechnology jobs to Colorado. We must be committed to establishing a fair Medicare and Medicaid payment system that does not hurt providers and does not put beneficiaries at risk of losing coverage. I will continue to support legislation to modernize our health care system by encouraging hospitals, nursing facilities, health centers, and physicians to keep investing in information technology, saving both lives and dollars.
I hear countless stories from Coloradans across our state about how year after year they have paid for private insurance only to discover that when they needed coverage the most, it wasn’t there. The public option is a common-sense approach that would inject competition into the marketplace, drive down costs, and provide affordable health insurance for Coloradans. If we are going to require people to have insurance, we need to make sure they have a choice. A public option should be just that, an option, one of a number of choices – public, private, and non-profit – that families and small businesses can choose from. The public option should also be affordable, self-sustaining, and shouldn’t pay at Medicare reimbursement rates.
As the Senate continues its work to address this crisis, I will keep your thoughts in mind. I value the input of fellow Coloradans in considering the wide variety of important issues and legislative initiatives that come before the Senate. I hope you will continue to inform me of your thoughts and concerns.
For more information about my priorities as a U.S. Senator, I invite you to visit my website at http://bennet.senate.gov/. Again, thank you for contacting me.
United States Senator
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