I just finished my friendly note to my Congressman, Joe Sestak. Before you read it, please see this article from a local paper regarding Sestak’s recent town hall meeting here. Church Packed to Talk About Health Care
Now my letter:
Dear Congressman Sestak:
On Friday, September 4, 2009, you held a town hall meeting in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, that I, unfortunately, could not attend as I could not find childcare for my three young sons. A dear neighbor and friend of mine, Jim Lafferty, was at the meeting. As I’m sure you remember, Jim is battling stage IV prostate cancer, and his question to you was whether or not he was going to be able to keep his doctor if HR3200 were to pass. To paraphrase your response to Mr. Lafferty, you replied that under the plan he and your constituents would be able to keep their current health insurance and physicians if they so choose. With all due respect, Mr. Sestak, your reply to Mr. Lafferty and us, your constituents, is a lie. Allow me to address just a few of many reasons why your stock response to this common, legitimate question is dishonest.
First, if the bill in its current state is passed, Mr. Lafferty’s employer may be forced to drop its current insurance for the public plan, thereby putting Mr. Lafferty’s access to his physician-of-choice at serious risk. Clearly, such a scenario will be commonplace as private insurers will not be able to compete with the government plan, which by design seeks to drive out the private industry.
Consider the following statements from the ironically titled SEC. 102. PROTECTING THE CHOICE TO KEEP CURRENT COVERAGE:
“Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.”
“Subject to paragraph (3) and except as required by law, the issuer does not change any of its terms or conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing, from those in effect as of the day before the first day of Y1.”
“The Commissioner shall establish a grace period whereby, for plan years beginning after the end of the 5-year period beginning with Y1, an employment-based health plan in operation as of the day before the first day of Y1 must meet the same requirements as apply to a qualified health benefits plan under section 101, including the essential benefit package requirement under section 121.”
Of course, I do not need to explain to you the real-life implications of just these few excerpts – surely as Congressman, you understand fully (and conveniently more than most of your constituency). Furthermore, you see that those of us like Mr. Lafferty who are satisfied with our health coverage risk losing our plans altogether or least having them diminished beyond recognition, as this bill is clearly designed to kill the private insurance industry. Did you convey such imminent risks to Mr. Lafferty? No.
Finally, there is a very real threat that the nation will lose its most seasoned medical professionals as a result of this bill. According to a new poll published in Investor’s Business Daily, over 45% of doctors would consider quitting if Congress passes this plan (link provided below). “Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.” What’s more, this bill imposes a “surcharge” on the wealthiest Americans; our wealthiest Americans are our doctors. See link below to The Bureau of Labor and Statics – nine of the top ten wealthiest professionals after entertainers and athletes are in the medical field. This bill is terrible for our doctors and will not only push our most experienced into early retirement, but will also efface the incentive for fresh, up-and-coming professionals entering the field. Did you mention these risks to Mr. Lafferty? No.
Neither you nor any politician can prove that Mr. Lafferty’s or any American’s current coverage is 100% safe and guaranteed if HR3200 should pass as it is currently written. To say otherwise is a lie; to not disclose these undeniable risks resultant of this bill to your constituents is truth by omission. As a parent yourself, I’m sure you would agree that a half-truth is, at its core, a complete lie.
That said, it is despicable that you could so easily and knowingly deceive not only a young father who is literally fighting for his life with his health care being his greatest weapon, but also your entire constituency as well. Why would you do such a thing? I can only come to two possible conclusions: either you have not read the bill carefully, or you have read it yet you do not care to convey all of its implications because you do not have the courage to stand up to your Party since you will need its backing for your Senate bid. Both options are shameful and I will do everything I can to make as many people I know in your district aware of your self-serving disingenuousness and/or glaring weakness as a representative.
BETSY F-ING BOSS!!!