Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dear Senator Cantwell

Image credit: Architect of the Capitol (AOC). Reduced by Cujo359

I wrote this to my Senator today. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is one of the Democrats on the Finance Committee that's now considering the worst of the health care reform bills, the one written by Senator Max Baucus. Sen. Cantwell introduced an amendment that would make the insurance pools somewhat more effective, but it's nowhere near good enough. As I wrote last week, all the amendments proposing a public option were voted down.

I've removed some personal information, but the rest is word-for-word what I wrote to her:

Since the CBO report is now finished, I assume that a vote will come up soon in the Finance Committee for the Baucus version of the health care reform bill. While it has been improved somewhat, it is still unacceptable in its current form. It should not be brought to the floor of the Senate until it has a viable public option. "Viable" means that it must be made available to anyone who wants it, on the same terms as other (private) insurance plans (with the same subsidies for low income people, in other words), and it must be tied to Medicare costs.

Frankly, this public option should _be_ Medicare. It was foolish to have not done so. I'd pay for Medicare coverage.

As I've explained before, I've seen what's been happening the last few years. I have no confidence in this government's ability, or perhaps will is a better word, to regulate a financial industry like health insurance. Saying that pre-existing conditions will no longer be cause for exclusion does not make it so.

The U.S. government already insures the third of this country that is at highest risk - seniors, military, and the poor. Private insurance takes payments from three quarters of the people left, and delivers health care services to half of the people who are left. That's a lousy system, and nothing in the current legislation will change that.

Please vote against this bill. It shouldn't even be allowed to come to the floor. If the Senate can't deliver a better bill, when 45,000 of us are dying each year for lack of medical care, then it should be fired and replaced with people who are either competent or concerned enough about their countrymen to make it happen.

Make that prostitute Baucus fix his bill or let it sit in committee forever.

If your Senator is on the Finance Committee, I suggest you write him (or her) asking that he vote down the bill. The Republicans will probably do that anyway, but we need at least two Democratic Senators, preferably more, to vote it down to prevent it from reaching the floor of the Senate. I don't have any confidence that the bill will be amended on the Senate floor. Tell your Senator something from your own experiences that might illustrate why you want publicly financed health care.

Going against a committee chairman is a serious thing for a Senator, and that's what I'm asking my Senator to do. It's possible she won't, but she and the others need to know that we're watching, and we won't forgive failure.

On a related note, if you didn't catch Keith Olbermann's show tonight, I'd suggest watching it online. He raises quite a few points about what's wrong with health care as it's done in America. It's a sobering talk, even if you're familiar with the issue.

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