I received the following email from my Congressman today. I thought it was worth sharing. I'm so glad he represents me!
Dear Ms. Rabenau:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your support of the health care legislation that is currently being debated in the House. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
Like you, I am very concerned about how expensive health care is and how many people go without it. All Americans should have access to quality health care and I think the best solution is to establish a national health care system. Over 45 million Americans have no health insurance today, and millions more have inadequate insurance. Employers who have long provided quality coverage for their employees are cutting back benefits and raising workers' out-of-pocket expenses to deal with the rising cost of health premiums. Most of those who do have health insurance have to rely on their employers to provide it and as a result they have little or no choice about what kind of coverage they will have, and little or no security about whether they will remain insured, should they lose their job.
There is no good reason why our country should not offer its people a universal and comprehensive health care plan. It is a disgrace that our country allows people to go without coverage. Today, more than 30 percent of the money spent on private health care in America is spent on administration and advertising by health insurance companies. That's more than enough to cover the cost of providing insurance to people who don't have coverage now. By contrast, the administrative costs of Medicare--our universal health care system for seniors--comprise only 2 percent of the program's spending.
The current House health care reform legislation would provide Americans with an array of high‐quality private and public health insurance options. Most importantly, if you like the insurance you already have, you can keep it. The bill helps ensure that more Americans will have access to greater choices in doctors and plans by taking away the insurance industry's ability to deny coverage and care because of a pre-existing condition. This legislation builds on what is currently working in the employer‐based system while ensuring that all Americans health needs will be covered by insurance. No one will have to worry about being denied based on a pre-existing condition or being without coverage if their employer drops coverage, or if they lose their job, or change employers.
Currently, middle‐class families pay an enormous “hidden tax” of nearly $1,100 per year to provide care for the uninsured and underinsured. The House proposal will end this tax by containing overall costs and expanding access to affordable care for everyone. Additionally, the House proposal invests in reforms to help prevent the costs of health insurance from overburdening businesses, families and the federal budget.
I have been a committed cosponsor of legislation to create a single-payer health care plan since I took office in 1993. While I ultimately believe a single payer health care system is the best option for our country, I recognize that this goal is not achievable in this current session of Congress. As such, I strongly believe that the final health care reform package, which Congress is expected to approve this year, must include a public plan option that would provide Americans with a choice between health insurance provided through various private companies or through a public plan operated by the government. I, along with many of my House colleagues believe that any comprehensive health care reform legislation that comes before Congress must, at a minimum, include a public plan option that would enable people to buy into a public health insurance program that is on a level playing field with private health insurance plan.
I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts and ideas with me and I'm also very pleased to hear of your support for expanding coverage and reforming our health care system. Making broad strides on health care reform is extremely important to me and I continue to work diligently on this issue.
Thank you again for contacting me. Your comments and concerns are always welcomed. I also encourage you to visit my website, www.house.gov/hinchey, where you can learn about my latest efforts in Congress on your behalf. Best regards.
Maurice D. Hinchey
And a little (a long one actually) Keith Olbermann on Sarah Palin and a wide range of things...