Friday, December 18, 2009

A Senatorial Non-response

At least Senator Bennet responded to my letter. Senator Udall has a bad habit of turning off his phones and ignoring critical emails.

This is what Sen. Bennet wrote me, and my responses I'll be sending back to him.

Dear Rude1: 



Thank you for contacting me regarding comprehensive health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you. 



On Saturday, November 21st, the Senate voted to begin debate on The Patient Protection and Affordability Act. I also voted to start debate on this bill. We're going to go through weeks of debate and amendments to improve the bill.

Please explain to me Senator, why you and your colleagues insist on improving this bill, instead of starting at the beginning by identifying the problem (supposedly sky-rocketing insurance costs), narrowing the problem down to root causes, and writing a bill that will fix THAT problem instead of turning the world’s best healthcare system into a bureaucratic nightmare?
That is the right process to go through. If we stick with it and we do the hard work that people in Colorado and across the country need us to do, we will have made a meaningful difference.

Define meaningful difference please sir. Wouldn’t a better plan of action focus on making meaningful, quantifiable improvements? 



If we are going to solve the fiscal problems that threaten our economy and our kids’ future, we need to pass effective reform that will rein in skyrocketing health care costs.

Again, have you and the brilliant minds in Washington identified the root causes of these rising costs? If so, then why aren’t the lawyers who instigate frivolous malpractice suits for astronomical settlements being vilified instead of the insurance companies? You know, the companies who have to PAY the astronomical settlements, with money from their fees. Why is there such a vicious opposition to tort reform?
This bill will significantly reduce the deficit, bring down costs and provide affordable health insurance to all Americans.

How exactly, and what do you mean by significantly? Currently our annual deficit is close to 1.5 TRILLION dollars; that to me sir is significant. How can yet another government program reduce that when said program will cost over a trillion dollars itself? Stop telling me how great this is and start showing me the numbers. I’m sorry Senator, but your word on this is not good enough. I’m still confused as to how increased government programs can result in decreased deficit? Simple economics deems this impossible. Where will the money come from? How will the cost of health insurance go down? Will the decreased cost offset the increased taxes? Please don’t tell me that only the “rich” will be taxes to pay for this. We both know that is not true. Don’t tell me you are going to make existing programs more efficient to cover these costs. Instead sir, why don’t you make them more efficient NOW? Prove to me that you can and will fix the broken existing systems before you ask me to fund another sinking ship.
Now is the time to put politics and special interests aside and enact meaningful, fiscally-responsible health care reform that will put our families, our small businesses and our country on a sounder footing for generations to come.

Okay, I agree that we need to put aside politics and special interests. Now I expect YOU to adhere to your own words. From what I see out of Washington, your definition of putting politics and special interest aside means that anyone opposed to this farce of legislation needs to abandon their beliefs and embrace yours. Stop with the worthless rhetoric and put some action behind your own words; put your money where your mouth is.

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. We should be open to any and all options that will help achieve these goals.

Yes you should be Senator, but you are not. If you were, TORT reform would be at the forefront of this legislation, abortion provisions would be strictly forbidden, tax breaks for personal insurance would be key, and portable insurance, not allowance of pre-existing conditions, would be critical facets of the bill. 



Coloradans are frustrated because they are seeing double digit increases in their premiums, do not have adequate access to doctors and nurses and, in many cases, are being completely shut out of the system.

No sir, we are frustrated that YOU and your colleagues refuse to listen to what we’re saying. NO ONE is refused treatment in this country. I’d like for you to provide concrete, verifiable examples of these claims of people being “shut out of the system” or denied adequate access to healthcare. 
We’re frustrated that our government continues to spend money like an out of control spoiled socialite with no sense of responsibility. 


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.

Okay, let’s talk pre-existing conditions. Why can’t I buy auto insurance that will fix my previously wrecked car? Because it is fiscally irresponsible! You cannot expect anyone to pay a few hundred dollars in start up premiums and immediately put in a claim for tens of thousands and expect it to be paid! This argument for pre-existing conditions is ludicrous. No company can sustain itself (make a profit) by doing business this way. Health insurance is no different. A better option here Senator is to open interstate commerce for health insurance, thus making it portable and open to competition (which would not only reduce the pre-existing condition argument, but would in fact lower coverage costs; again, simple economics).
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.

You are already too late on this one sir; reimbursement to providers is already so low that healthcare providers are forsaking new Medicare and Medicaid patients in droves. If you cannot provide just compensation to providers now, how do you propose to do so with even more people covered?
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.

Nice words Senator, but how do you expect them to pay for these investments? It seems to me that the money has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere will be increased costs to the patient for services, or through government assistance. Government assistance would mean higher taxes wouldn’t it sir? So how does this help lower costs again? 



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.

Really Senator, countless stories just from within Colorado? I find that EXTREMELY hard to believe. In a state this size, I would figure there is probably less than 50 examples of this, and that is being generous. By the way Senator, did you happen to get any details of these examples? What were the circumstances behind your so-called countless examples? Were they legal citizens, did they pursue all available avenues to help themselves or did they simply throw up their hands and cry “Government save me!”?
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.

Based on what, the example of Canada or Great Britain’s exemplary systems? Or maybe based on some computer model where only select data is input to guarantee the results you want?
If we are going to require people to have insurance, we need to make sure they have a choice.

Explain to me again WHY you feel the need to REQUIRE people to have insurance? Oh that’s right, you have never explained this yet…
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.

And why shouldn’t it pay at Medicare reimbursement rates? Is it because Medicare is a broken system, a sinking ship? Or are you proposing that this wonderful new option would pay at an even LESS rate than Medicare pays? 



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.

Crisis sir? What crisis? According to poll after poll after poll; the majority of Americans are happy with their healthcare. This “crisis” is a manufactured scenario that Washington has created to pander to non-contributing individuals and the guilt complex of the rest. Don’t worry Senator, I certainly will continue to keep you informed, but I’m not sure why since you have failed to address even one of my concerns. Instead you send me a letter that by all accounts reads like a talking point paper, yet fails to address or even mention a single point I raised. I say again, LISTEN to us and stop the lies! 



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. 





Sincerely, 


Michael Bennet

United States Senator



Please do not respond to this email. To send another message please visit my website at http://bennet.senate.gov and fill out the webform for a prompt response. Thank you.

3 comments:

Buckskins Rule said...

I wonder if these clowns really believe that we'll buy into this tripe? They have fabricated a crisis, whipped everyone into a frenzy and for what? To solve in a few weeks a problem that has taken years to develop. They can't convince me that this is a well thought out plan. Garbage in = garbage out.

The bottom line is that the party currently in power does not feel that they are there to represent us, but rather to do what they feel is best for us simpletons. (i.e. find a way to keep us in check).

For what it's worth, the response you received is typical of what I get back from Patty Murray. And Udall's response is identical to that of Maria Cantwell.

Rude1 said...

It amazes me how they stay in office, it really does.

Buckskins Rule said...

It never ceases to amaze me, either. I think it's due in large part to the number of elegible adults who do not vote. While mired in their own apathy, they are letting this country get dragged down the drain.