Too bad Senator Webb and Warner can find just a few hours during the August recess to meet with constituents about healthcare reform. Senator Webb’s form letter is in bad form.
- “During the coming weeks, I will be carefully examining the reform proposals currently on the table.”
Good to see he will be reading the bill. I doubt he read this form letter. Although he says congress will use the recess to “hear from interested citizens.” Really? I’m not holding my breath.
- “I have stated on several occasions my concerns that the Obama administration should have begun the process with a clear proposal that could have been the starting point for the work of the five separate congressional committees charged with responsibility for this issue.”
Looks like the good Senator is critical of President Obama’s leadership. He apparently thinks he is incompetent. Maybe someone should tell the Senator how his FORM letter is being read?
- “Currently in the Senate, two committees have jurisdiction over health care – the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Finance Committee. The HELP Committee has completed work on a health reform bill, the Affordable Health Choices Act. This bill aspires to significant reforms in the health insurance market, including provisions to prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.”
Tell us something we don’t know, Senator. For instance, what are your position on a public plan that will crowd out private plans and cause thousands of Virginians to loose the plan that they like … and that the President promised we could keep. Tell where you stand on health savings accounts that promote freedom and responsibility. Current House bills would nearly outlaw coverage because they are not within 70 percent of the reference benefit package. That affects more than 105,600 Virginians. Do you care? We can guess were you stand on Advance Care Consultation and abortion payment (with premiums). How would you protect Virginian’s from the rationing of health care embodied in the House bills? In general, you to have abdicated leadership by not setting forth policy positions that which you reasonably should have developed by now.
- “ In the Finance Committee, negotiations continue on a reform package that might win support from both Democratic and Republican members of the Senate. The success of these ongoing negotiations will be critical in determining whether a bill can be achieved this year.”
We aren’t stupid. Don’t hide behind Congressional processes. Don’t substitute the Senate Finance Considerations for your own positions. It makes you look like you’re trying to be the “white knight in the castle.” Is that you approach to leadership on healthcare policy?
- “By the same token, families are increasingly unable to depend on their health plans when they need them the most. This has contributed to the mortgage foreclosure crisis and the rise in personal bankruptcies.”
You’re joking, right? Yes. We know that health insurance premiums have risen more than 80 percent during the last eight years (coincidently that corresponds with the Warner Kaine administrations). Are you seriously claiming that increased insurance premiums contributed to the mortgage crisis? That’s a stretch. One what empircal facts to you reach that conclusion? No, it isn’t personal bankruptcies. Single-payer proponents, too, use this argument. We know that it is commonplace for politicians to claim that almost 60 percent of personal bankruptcies in middle class families are caused by increased costs of medical care. But Himmelstein’s et al study (February 2005), to which you are might be referring, has been closely debunked by professessors David Dranove and Michael Millenson at Northwestern University. They found the data analysis highly suspect.
“A reexamination of their data suggests that medical bills are a contributing factor in just 17 percent of personal bankruptcies and that those affected tend to have incomes closer to poverty level than to middle class.”
Other studies show even less reason to believe that medical costs play a major role in personal bankruptcies any more than high mortgages or payments on expensive (though environmentally-friendly) cars, which can also make it difficult to pay medical bills.
Thank you for time to send a Form letter to your constituents. We might have been better educated by you had you held town meetings to discuss the health care policy. I must say you No-Show this summer lends little credence to your assertion that “It is important for us to be very deliberate on an issue of such importance to the lives of our people.“ Bad Form, Caption Hook.
-The above is courtesy of a guest blogger-
For a complete view of Webb’s form letter and other comments go here.