Sen. Cantwell’s Response on Health Care

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I received the following today. Of course, late responses are welcome, although it would’ve been better to get it sooner.

Dear Mr. Gardner,

Thank you for contacting me about comprehensive health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Let’s see if you actually read what I wrote to determine how much you appreciate hearing from your constituents.

As you know, the Senate approved, with my support, comprehensive health care reform legislation on December 24, 2009. This legislation, titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), will tightly regulate insurance companies to protect consumers, ensure that 94 percent of Americans actually have health coverage, improve Medicare benefits and reduce the federal deficit by $130 billion over the next ten years.

She claims the bill is there to “protect consumers”, and “ensure that 94 percent of Americans actually have health coverage”, “improve Medicare benefits” and “reduce federal deficits”.

Protect consumers: I don’t feel safer having my future in the hands of government regulators. A fat lot of good regulation did in our financial industry, one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. Rather, I feel safer when people are competing for my money and business. I trust the free market, not government. I don’t have to look very far to see how the Federal Government is treating our soldiers in the VA hospital or our medicare recipients to see that sub-standard care and an apathetic bureaucracy are the results of heavy regulation.

Ensure that 94 percent of Americans actually have health coverage: How can we have health coverage if our health industry is in the same state of ruin as every other country with socialized medicine? Or what does she think health coverage is? Actually getting treatment, or having a piece of paper signed by the Federal Government?

Improve Medicare benefits: Apparently, cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the Medicare budget is supposed to improve benefits. The only place in the world where you can get more with less is in free enterprise economies, with real competition provided by actual companies that have to make a profit. In government, you get less with more, as we can see with our education system.

Reduce federal deficits: Here, the democrats played a trick on the people. See, they gave the CBO instructions to only look 10 years in the future, pretend that the medicare cuts would actually go through, and then only count the benefits of the bill after 4 years when they go into effect. Of course, if you take 6 years of spending with 10 years of taxes, along with an impossible cut, they are going to claim that they are saving money. But what happens in the next 20, 30, 50, 100 years with their bill? No one talks about that, because the answer is obvious: BANKRUPTCY.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the product of more than a year’s work by the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, with the final debate taking place on the Senate floor. The last steps of the process involve merging the House and Senate passed bills and having each chamber vote for final passage before sending one final bill to the President to be signed into law.

The senator believes we don’t see what kind of rules they are breaking to move this forward. They are supposed to get consent from the Senate before moving into conference committee. They failed to obtain that.

This bill is being ram-rodded down our throats, in violation of several senate rules.

As we work through these final steps of the legislative process, I will be fighting to make sure the health care reform bill we send to the President retains the strong reforms I have worked to include in the Senate’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I will also be pushing to strengthen the legislation where there remain weaknesses. The Senate bill would be stronger if it included additional elements I have supported, such as a public option, that would further reduce costs and improve Washingtonians’ choices in health care coverage.

Yes, socialism! Here she is admitted that she is fighting to thrust socialism upon the American people, despite the fact that we don’t want it and we stand ideologically opposed to the semblance of it.

Maria Cantwell, you do Josef Stalin proud. Keep up the good work, comrade! One day, they’ll raise a statue to you, and we can force our little children to lay wreaths of flowers around it, worshiping your hard work in taking from those who have and giving to those who would’ve had had the rich been able to continue what they were doing.

You, my friend, are an enemy to America, you are an affront to individual liberty, and you have no right to sit in your office because you do not support the basic principles and clear limits on government in the constitution you swore, falsely, to uphold.

Included as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is my Basic Health Plan. This provision allows all 50 states to establish programs similar to Washington’s Basic Health Plan, which has a successful 20-year track-record of providing quality coverage to people with income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. This provision will fully fund our state’s program by directing money to participating states so they can use their purchasing power to negotiate with insurance carriers to lower costs and improve benefits. A typical Basic Health Plan will cost 30 percent less than the same plan in today’s market. In Washington State, residents will see improved benefit packages under the Basic Health Plan, and the state will save much needed funds.

Wake me when I see a federal program that actually delivers more for less money than the private sector.

The way these plans work is that tax your pants off and then give a fraction of it to the poor in a shoddy manner. These are the same poor that are only poor because of the taxes and regulations enforced upon those people who are working hard to drive costs down and increase employment and wages in our economy.

Additionally, I was able to secure critical short-term funding for state-funded health care programs, including Washington’s Basic Health Plan. This bridge funding will help to improve coverage in our state until federal reform is fully implemented in 2014. It will also provide significant relief to our struggling state.

WAIT A MINUTE! I thought you just said that Washington’s Basic Health Plan was successful. Why do we need federal funding? Isn’t it more efficient at delivering health care than the private sector? Why do we need to tax ourselves and other states to provide for our own poor? Something is fishy here!

Also included in the Senate’s health reform bill is my Medicare “value-index.” This proposal will adjust the way physicians are paid under Medicare to reward high quality health care. Under the current system, doctors are paid strictly by the number of services they provide to patients without regard to how their patient’s health improves. My value-index provision puts the focus back on patient health, paying doctors more when they provide better care to their patients. The value-index will significantly benefit Washington State doctors, patients, and taxpayers by bringing more money to Washington State providers while reducing over payments in other parts of the country, saving the Medicare program billions of dollars a year.

The unfortunate fact is that doctors are fleeing medicare. It’s stupid regulations like the one you are proposing that make providing care to medicare patients more expensive and less profitable. If they can’t feed their families by providing medicare, they won’t do it at all. Without doctors, what are you going to do? Can we enslave doctors to provide medical care? Or are we going to have to increase the payouts to compensate for the mountain of regulations they have to comply with?

This value-index is one of several crucial reforms to the Medicare system, reforms that are necessary to ensure the program remains solvent and provides America’s seniors with the health coverage they need. Under the currently flawed system we have today, both providers and Medicare Advantage plans in other parts of the country receive more federal funding per patient and provide more benefits than those in Washington State. I support keeping Medicare Advantage strong for Washington State seniors. The reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would help Medicare Advantage plans in Washington State by correcting the payment imbalance that has hurt us in the past. Washington State Medicare providers and Medicare Advantage plans would finally be eligible for higher payments to reward their long history of efficiency. This will create a more equitable Medicare program across the country and bring substantial benefits to Washington State’s senior citizens.

Unfortunately, the doctors don’t seem to agree with you. More regulation is not the answer.

This health care legislation stabilizes skyrocketing costs, encourages quality and extends health care coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans. It will also tightly regulate the health insurance industry to protect consumers from being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies will be prevented from dropping coverage due to illness and it will be illegal to arbitrary increase premiums on policy holders. Additionally, small businesses will be allowed to pool together to achieve the purchasing power of large companies, which will finally allow them to access affordable coverage for their employees.

Why are costs skyrocketing? I’ll give you several reasons.

  1. There is no competition in the health insurance industry. More competition would lower costs and increase quality. As it is today, the tax code gives insurance companies a monopoly in each employer. Eliminate the tax incentive to provide health care, and allow people to buy insurance from out of state.
  2. Lawyers like John Edwards abuse the malpractice laws to extort billions from good doctors. End the abuse of our tort system by placing caps on pay-outs and limits on what doctors can be held accountable for. Better yet, allow the juries to be composed exclusively from doctors of a similar field so that they can judge whether their colleague actually was abusing his profession. This malpractice payout money ultimately comes from the pockets of the patients, driving up health care costs.
  3. Stop regulating medical devices and drugs. The FDA is supposed to insure that only safe drugs and devices are introduced into the field of medicine. They have failed. We are better left with doctors and manufacturers regulating themselves, and allowing patients to choose whether they will experiment with a new drug or not. This will reduce the cost of R&D by billions.
  4. Stop regulating the medical industry altogether. Stupid regulations are expensive to enforce. Rather, let each doctor, hospital, and association of doctors and hospitals set their own standards, and enforce the same. Let the patients decide which doctors, hospitals, or professional organizations are trustworthy and which are not.
  5. Stop buying drugs and paying for doctors for the elderly and sick. By getting the Federal Government out of the charity business, and leaving private individuals and organizations to care for those who truly can’t afford their care, there will not be a massive incentive to extort money from the federal government. Let charities determine how much or how little they will pay for drugs and care for the elderly and sick. Let individuals have the ultimate say, not the government.

The final product will not include everything I believe we need to improve our health care system, but make no mistake: this is a landmark bill that institutes significant reform, offers immediate relief and provides a foundation for a health care system that will last us well into the future. As we work to combine the House and Senate bills, I am focused on ensuring the policies which benefit Washingtonians remain strong. For the full text and various summaries of the bill as passed by the Senate on December 24, 2009, please see: http://dpc.senate.gov/dpcdoc-sen_health_care_bill.cfm.

It is landmark in its audacity to violate Article 1, Section 8. Have you even read it? If you have, how can you justify this bill by it?

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,
Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

Senator, you’ve addressed none of my concerns. Instead, I feel like you have deleted my email and ignored my comments. Please, seriously consider the following facts.

  1. Article 1, Section 8 clearly delineates what Congress can do. Medical regulation is not one of them. Please explain to me why you feel it is justified to violate our sacred constitution and violate that oath you swore to protect and defend the same.
  2. The medical system in the United States is the #1 system in the world, bar none. Tell me why you feel it necessary to emulate the failing systems of the UK and Canada. Tell me why you are not working to extend the freedoms and liberties of the people, the very thing that makes our medical system superior to all others.
  3. What is it about the Republican proposals that you refuse even to admit they exist? Why not reform our tax code to allow people to buy their own insurance, outside of their company? Why not allow out-of-state insurance companies to sell policies to the people? Why not reform the tort system?

I fully expect to be ignored, because that is the MO of the Democratic Party nowadays.

You may interpret Scott Brown’s victory as evidence that you need to pass more communist bills faster. I assure you, I have a different opinion. At the very least, I encourage you to pursue the path you are following. It’s been a while since we’ve sent a conservative republican to the senate from Washington, anyway.

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