Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Letter from Dennis Kucinich

I thought this was worth sharing. I wish all of our Congress people had the passion and dedication to the well-being of our citizens that Mr. Kucinich has. I'm going to let him speak for himself and not add anything.

Healthcare: Change the Debate
Support a Real Public Option

Dear Friends,

In mid-May, in an effort to reach consensus, President Obama secured a deal with the health insurance companies to trim 1.5% of their costs each year for ten years saving a total of $2 trillion dollars, which would be reprogrammed into healthcare. Just two days after the announcement at the White House the insurance companies reneged on the deal which was designed to protect and increase their revenue at least 35%

The insurance companies reneged on the deal because they refuse any restraint on increasing premiums, copays and deductibles - core to their profits. No wonder a recent USA Today poll found that only four percent of Americans trust insurance companies. This is within the margin of error, which means it is possible that NO ONE TRUSTS insurance companies.

Then why does Congress trust the insurance companies? Yesterday HR 3200 "America's Affordable Health Choices Act," a 1000 page bill was delivered to members. The title of the bill raises a question: "Affordable" for whom?.

Of $2.4 trillion spent annually for health care in America, fully $800 billion goes for the activities of the for-profit insurer-based system. This means one of every three health care dollars is siphoned off for corporate profits, stock options, executive salaries, advertising, marketing and the cost of paper work, (which can be anywhere between 15 - 35% in the private sector as compared to Medicare, the single payer plan which has only 3% administrative costs).

50 million Americans are uninsured and another 50 million are under insured while for-profit insurance companies divert precious health care dollars to non-health care purposes. Eliminate the for-profit health care system and its extraordinary overhead, put the money into healthcare and everyone will be covered, everyone will be able to afford health care.

Today three committees will begin marking up and amending HR3200. In this, one of the most momentous public policy debates in the past 70 years, single payer, the only viable "public option," the one that makes sound business sense, controls costs and covers everyone was taken off the table.

In contrast to HR3200 ... HR676 calls for a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, Medicare for All. It has over 85 co-sponsors in Congress with the support of millions of Americans and countless physicians and nurses. How does HR-676 control costs and cover everyone? It cuts out the for-profit middle men and delivers care directly to consumers and Medicare acts as the single payer of bills. It also recognizes that under the current system for-profit insurance companies make money NOT providing health care.

This week is the time to break the hold which the insurance companies have on our political process. Tell Congress to stand up to the insurance companies. Ask members to sign on to the only real public option, HR 676, a single-payer healthcare system.

Hundreds of local labor unions, thousands of physicians and millions of Americans are standing behind us. With a draft of HR3200 now circulating, It is up to each and every one of us to organize and rally for the cause of single-payer healthcare. Change the debate. Now is the time.

The time to act is now!

Sincerely Yours,
Dennis Kucinich

PS - Over the next several months, I will be engaging all of you with frequent updates and will ask you to continue a movement to fight for what needs to be done now; ending this war in Iraq and stopping the escalation in Afghanistan, attaining true single-payer healthcare for all Americans, standing up for my brothers and sisters of organized labor.

After you have contacted your member of Congress, please tell us your thoughts and ideas on how you are organizing your friends and neighbors towards a single-payer movement and all of the other issues that are important to us.

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Richard said...

Raven: Dennis has the right approach and is the most informed of all the Senators and Congress people I've heard on financial and health issues.

The problem is he does not have a big enough base. He is considered to be the most influential libertarian speaker, but there is just not much power in that group in DC.

It's too bad. He's on the right side of the issue most of the time, but like all in our national legislatures, he must be able to overcome lobbyists (A daunting task) and build coalitions to pass bills.

We are firmly in the control of the banking and insurance companies under Obama's administration and the Dem majority houses. It's too bad, but the truth seems that neither party is capable of escaping the overarching power of money in American politics.


Raven said...

I fear you are right. I think the Drug and Insurance industries have too much control over both the Congress and the air waves. As I type this, there's one of those stupid ads saying that government bureaucrats are going to take away my health care choices... as opposed to insurance company bureaucrats, I guess.

Listening to our Congress people - I have not had the sense to turn off the Sotomayor hearings - makes me wonder how this country is still standing at all. Sigh.

gabrielle said...

Health care choices? 50 million Americans would love to have the choice of being insured!!! Too bad it's not in the cards.

It is evident that any bill that comes out of the Senate Finance Committee will be a pro-industry bill that will ensure trillions in profits for the health insurance industry, HMO’s and pharmaceutical industry. They are spending 1.4 million per day in lobbying. Not to mention political contributions and revolving door relationships between government and private industry.

Now Congress is adding a mandate so that people will be penalized if they don’t purchase health insurance!

In a former life, I was a RN and a member of the California Nurses Association. When I moved to Minnesota, the only jobs available for registered nurses were to work for insurance companies denying claims. I pieced together PT temporary jobs for over a year rather than sell my soul.

A good site for background, articles,talking points and just plain moral boosting is (Physicians for a national health care program.)

Thanks for posting Dennis' letter.
He is one of the most principled and well informed representatives we have.

Carletta said...

I'm waiting to see where it all goes.
I know if my daughter's company wasn't footing her healthcare, she wouldn't have any.

Sue said...

Totally agree with Kucinich! Although I currently have good, employer provided health care, I'd be willing to give it up and switch to a single payer system if that would mean that everyone was covered at a reasonable rate. I'd be happy to exchange my current monthly premiums and out of pocket costs for higher taxes if that's what it takes.