A reader sent this copy of a letter s/he had recently sent to his/her elected officials and a response from Congressman David Reichert, (R) Washington -GFS
I am very concerned that we are able to get Health Care Reform enacted sometime in my lifetime. We’ve been struggling with this since at least the start of Clinton’s first term. I sent the following letter to my elected officials. Following that is the response I got quite quickly from Congressman Reichert’s office. Like the last time I received a reply to a concern, it appears his aid did not think before quickly deciding the general topic of my letter and then sending out the stock form letter of non-response. I truly do not feel like I was listened to in the least.
To: Senator Maria Cantwell, Senator Patty Murray, and Representative David Reichert
I fully support Health Care Reform. I may not agree with every point included in the bill at this time, but an overall change and improvement in how health care and health care insurance coverage is made available and accessible for all American citizens is imperative. We’ve taken entirely too long in making the needed changes. People of all age groups are struggling due to the inequities and the lack of available or sufficient affordable healthcare in this country. It is important to finally take reasonable steps to enact changes now. Fine-tuning may be accomplished next year as we see how the proposed bill will work.
I am extremely concerned about what I have been seeing and hearing regarding the Town Hall Meetings on Health Care Reform. Town Hall and other types of meetings are an important part of our working democracy.
I believe everyone has a right to attend a meeting such as the Health Care Reform Town Halls. We do not all have to agree on the issue. Dissention of opinion and spirited discussion is acceptable. Participants must be willing to be responsible, and respectful of others when they choose to attend and participate. Disruption and censuring by one particularly loud special interest group of others is unacceptable. I consider strategies of some to censure others and try to prevent meaningful information sharing and discussion un-American, quite frankly.
Everyone has the right to hear the presentation uninterrupted by disruptors. Everyone has the right to ask questions, give opinions or explain concerns in an orderly and respectful manner. No one has a right to stop others from doing any of the above.
People who disrupt others and take away their rights are hooligans and should be removed from the meetings so others may peacefully exercise their rights.
I do not see any listings of Town Hall Meeting you will be hosting on your web site. I would like to attend one. Would you send me information about any meetings on Health Care that you are holding and how to register to attend?
Congressman Dave Reichert on new health care bill
August 12, 4:27 AM
On Tuesday, August 10th, I sat in on a health reform teleconference with Congressman David Reichert and some of his constituents from the 8th Congressional District in Washington State. I didn't get a chance to ask questions as there were too many people that had called in before me. I would like to address just a few of the things that I heard on this teleconference.
This is some of what Congressman Reichert told his constituents that had phoned into his teleconference on health care –
Congressman Reichert said that benefits under the new health care reform bill would be limited. A caller indicated that the plan would have a cap so low that she was concerned that her child would not have adequate coverage. Congressman Reichert did not disagree.
The health care reform being proposed right now will forbid rationing, the very rationing that is currently being used by insurance companies. There is widespread rationing with private insurers denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions or kicking people out all together. The new health care bill eliminates rationing and the use of a pre- existing condition to prevent people from getting health care.
Congressman Reichert said that employers might be inclined to drop all their employees health coverage and pay a fine of 8% because that would be cheaper than insuring their workers.
First of all, the 8% fine is for large companies. There is a sliding scale where many small companies would pay no fine at all. The fine for companies with annual payrolls from $250, 000 to $400,000 is from 1% to 6%.
Right now Boeing pays about $15,000 a year for each family plan they provide their employees. Boeing could have stopped offering their comprehensive Regence Health Plan a long time ago and switched to a cheaper plan like Group Health; they have not done this. For most companies, the insurance they offer is part of an employment package, an incentive package designed to get and keep the best people. Then there are the unions! Unions protect these benefits. Does Congressman Reichert think that unions are going to just roll over and play dead?
In all likelihood, premiums for large companies will go down when private insurers are forced to compete. Perhaps the big health insurance company CEO’s might have to adjust their multi-million dollar bonus packages!
Health care reform will ease the burden on small businesses and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees. Tax penalties for businesses that do not offer insurance only apply to companies that have more than 25 employees. 90 percent of businesses have fewer than 25 employees! Small businesses will be able to participate in a health insurance exchange. Right now small businesses are paying about 18% more for health coverage than big businesses; this reform will help. In addition to being able to participate in an insurance exchange, small businesses will receive tax credits to help with the expense of insuring their workers. You can find more information on this topic on page 188 of the new health care bill.
Congressman Reichert went on at some length that private insurance companies would not be able to add any benefits to their health coverage after 2013; that they would not have access to or be able to offer any new medications, treatments, or other benefits.
I read through 350 pages of the new health care bill and looked at the entire index with the titles to each section of the bill and could not find a single word pertaining to this claim.
Congressman Reichert spoke as if the new health care reform bill does not address waste and fraud.
In fact one of the primary objectives of the new health care reform would be to control costs by eliminating fraud and waste. This was always a priority for the President and he has mentioned it repeatedly.
Mr. Reichert spoke of a Health Choices Commissioner with no medical background that would make medical decisions for all of us.
Our doctors, with our consent, will continue to help us with our medical decisions, not the US Government or an assigned commissioner!
Page 31 of the new health care reform bill covers the appointment of an Advisory Committee. Nine members will be appointed that are not Federal Employees and they will be appointed in a similar manner in which the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission was appointed. Eight Federal Employees will be appointed. All of the members of this Advisory Committee will represent consumers, labor, employers, health insurance issuers, experts in health care financing and delivery, experts in the care of those with disabilities, practicing physicians, and experts on children’s health. These health professionals shall represent a balance among various sectors of the health care system so that no single sector unduly influences the recommendations of the committee. The Surgeon General will be a member of this advisory committee and the committee will allow for public input.
Congressman Reichert is inviting people to submit their health care stories on a form on his website. The websites indicates that he “may” use your letter. If you look at the letters that were submitted you will find that they are all carefully selected. If your letter does not agree with his position, it will not be posted. He takes this a little further, by posting a sensational letter filled with inaccuracies by an obviously frightened constituent. Mr. Reichert should have sent a letter to this constituent saying that although he does not agree with the new health care reform bill, he is certain that no one would be allowed to die under any government health care plan! I can only assume that this letter was posted in an attempt to frighten people.
If you have a couple of hours to kill, you might want to read the new health care bill. You will find that it is progressive, comprehensive, well thought out, and is all about protecting our health. The public option can be found on Page 116. Let’s hope that this bill doesn’t continue to get “marked-up”.
If you like your health care, you can keep it! More than 95% of us will not be taxed to pay for this reform. Those that have insurance they like, should not be allowed to keep others that are uninsured, underinsured, unemployed, have a pre-existing condition, or are barely able to pay their premiums from getting the health care that they need. Health care is a right, not a privilege.
In fairness to Mr. Reichert, I would like to thank him for supporting the new energy bill and caring about our environment. But I would also like to challenge Congressman Reichert to consider that half, perhaps more than half of his constituents, like the new health care reform bill and want a public option.
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