The Intermittent Kevin

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Health care: Carter’s response to my response

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As I mentioned in my very first health-care-related blog post, my Congressman—John Carter—sent an email poll asking what his constituents thought of Congress’s health-care proposals. Rather than clicking a button, I sent a quick response indicating my general (and uninformed) support for Democratic proposals.

Congressman Carter, or one of his employees, responded not long after with a lengthy and impressively thorough description of exactly why he thought the Dem plans were a bad idea. I’m reprinting his letter here, then I’ll post what I just sent him.

From: Congressman John Carter
Subject: Responding to your message
Date: July 31, 2009 4:38:49 PM CDT
To: house@happywaffle.com
Dear Kevin:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for President Obama’s health care plan. Access to quality health care is a critical issue facing our country, and I appreciate your input.

America has the highest quality health care in the world. A recent medical study on cancer survivability rates showed that Americans are in a lot better shape than Great Britain, Norway, and the European Union nations, all of which have government run health care. For example, the survival rate for those diagnosed with prostate cancer in European Union countries is only 77%; it is 99% in the U.S. Additionally, all female cases of cancer have a survivability rate of 62.9% in the United States, but only 52.7% in England.

However, like you, I agree that our healthcare costs too much. Lawsuit abuse, government regulations, and abuse of our programs by illegal aliens have caused health care costs to spiral out of control, and these costs increased the financial burden on American families. Health care reform should address access and cost, but not at the expense of our current quality. Congress must act soon or health care costs will continue to increase as a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

I am opposed to a government run health care plan for several reasons. First, there is the matter of cost. Cost estimates for the Democratic health care plan range as high as $2 trillion, much of which will have to be paid for in the form of new debt and increased taxes. These high cost estimates are unacceptable, especially since the Obama administration has incurred more debt than all other Presidential administrations combined.

In addition to the high costs, a government run insurance plan would eventually force people out of their current plans. All last fall, President Obama promised that any reform legislation would allow Americans to keep their individual coverage. However, under the Democrats’ plan, Americans with private insurance would be forced to drop their coverage in favor of a government run plan.

One of the reasons Americans will be forced to drop their coverage is because the Democrats’ plan would establish a Health Exchange. The Health Exchange would regulate all private insurance plans and mandate what procedures are covered and how much physicians are reimbursed. Employers would also be forced to either participate in the exchange or pay a tax. Insurers will have to drop people due to the increased cost of their plan to comply with the exchange. This is why experts have predicted that as many as 120 million Americans will lose their current coverage.

President Obama is misleading the American people on health care access and choices by saying that with a public option plan, Americans can keep their current coverage. However, Representative Barney Frank, a democrat from Massachusetts, was quoted admitting the ultimate goal of the Democrats’ healthcare plan. He said, “If we get a good public option it could lead to single payer, and the only way to get to a single payer plan is to have a public option.”

In addition to the outrageous costs and Americans’ inevitable loss of their current coverage, the quality of healthcare will be drastically affected. This will lead to healthcare rationing. The healthcare plan would create a new government board, the Health Benefits Advisory Council. The purpose of this board would be to mandate treatments and benefits under health insurance plans. Essentially, this board would authorize federal bureaucrats to determine what health care you receive, taking these decisions away from you and your doctor. Since the government would be overburdened with costs, to control spending, it would ration care, just as governments have in every other country with a government run plan. As you can see, this “public option” would leave individuals with less access to health care and government bureaucrats making the decisions.

So far, I have explained how the healthcare plan is flawed and identified the reasons I do not support it. I want you to know that Republicans have solutions and are committed to reducing the cost of healthcare. We would provide incentives to make coverage affordable and increase access to physician care by enacting reasonable limits on frivolous medical lawsuits. Republicans would encourage states to improve their insurance markets in order to reduce mandates that drive up costs and increase the number of uninsured Americans. Also, we would encourage states to expand state coverage for chronically ill individuals and those with pre-existing conditions in order to guarantee access to quality coverage.

In addition to these solutions, we would encourage healthy lifestyles by allowing employers to offer discounts and other incentives for their participants in wellness programs. We would ensure that individuals currently enrolled in Medicaid have the option to apply the value of their current health benefit towards coverage that best meets their needs. By providing incentives to individuals, we can encourage people to accumulate funds to pay for medical expenses through Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Understanding that people need to have more access to information about price and quality of medical treatments, we would make this data more available so Americans are confident and informed about their healthcare decisions. All in all, Republicans will do what we can to keep the government from standing in the way of life-saving treatments on cost grounds and permit Americans to choose the healthcare plan that is best for them.

As your elected Representative, I am familiar with how crucial health care coverage is to our quality of life. That is why I am committed to true reform, which would keep costs low, respect the patient-physician relationship, and ensure that health care decisions are not made by the government or insurance companies. I cannot support a proposal that would throw money at the problem, create a government run system that would encourage waste, fraud, abuse, and limit health care access. Please know that I will work with my colleagues to create a better reform plan.

Thank you again for allowing me to address this important issue. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For your information, I have attached facts regarding the following discredited claims the President repeated in his press conference on July 22.

[Cut in the interests of saving space]

Sincerely,
John Carter
Member of Congress

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Written by Kevin Miller

September 25, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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