My Dear Elected Officials- Monday, June 8,
I am writing to request a full explanation regarding the "single payer" option being taken off the table in reference to health care reform.
As you are well aware, scare tactics abound when this subject is broached, as in the early 1990's when insurance lobbies spent upwards of 100 million dollars to kill health care reform when President Clinton first entered office.
I am confident you aware of at least one of the tactics used by Republicans, neocons, skinheads, and some Conservadems, the usual worn-out statement meant to scare people that goes something like this: your sick mother or grandmother will not be able to get treatment because of a government bureaucrat as a result of "socialized medicine." I have noticed some on the right beginning to use catch words such as “rationing of care” “long lines” “you may have to wait six months to see a dentist.” And other nonsense. There have been times I wished I could wait six months to see a dentist because as our current system is designed now, NEVER was how long I would have to wait to receive dental or medical treatment.
Let me remind you of W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, Republican, of Louisiana proclaiming over and over again how he "loves his Mama, I love that woman" while on a "family values" crusade and then went to work for PhRMA at a reported salary of 2.5 million dollars a year after he left office. So much for all of the love for Mamas everywhere.
I am confident you are aware of the current for-profit health industry, in which insurance companies such as Aetna, Blue-Cross, and Kaiser Permanente, companies that make billions of dollars profiting from people's misery, have the ability to deny claims.
Perhaps you recall the infamous case of Nataline Sarkisyan, the 17 year old girl that died at the UCLA Medical Center on December 20, 2007 as a result of CIGNA denying her a liver transplant. Unfortunately, Nataline was one of approximately 20,000 American that are killed yearly, one could argue murdered, by the insurance companies they pay premiums to. Premiums that are paid by Americans for the express purpose of the insurance company paying up in the event of a claim being filed.
If you have seen the movie "Sicko," you will recall a scene in which a doctor is testifying before committee on Capitol Hill, and she recounts a particular case in which she had to deny a claim by a man that was dying because of the denial quotas she was expected to adhere to. She testified that had the man received the necessary care he paid for he would not have died. I do not understand why this woman was not immediately detained and charged with this man's death.
Please include an explanation of the lack of detention of this woman in your response. Be advised any references to any sort of immunity deal should be included, but as a taxpayer, I am uninterested in this. Had this scenario played out during a robbery anywhere else, the individual responsible would be imprisoned. In this case the CEO's of these companies are directly responsible, and they have blood of Americans on their hands. When health insurance companies take money for premiums from individuals and do not deliver, that is robbery. Furthermore, if that robbery results in an individual’s death, one could argue a murder occurred.
The current state of our health care system is in shambles. As you are well aware, the United States spends more money on health care than any other Western Nation, and we have less to show than most for our efforts.
I would like to include more statistics for you, but I am confident you already know the numbers.
Here is what I require from you, my dear elected officials: A full explanation of why my elected officials are bowing to the insurance companies by denying a single payer system for the American People. As members of my Congress, you are individuals that enjoy the benefits of health care funded by the American Peoples’ tax dollars. Armed with the knowledge that the paycheck you cash as a result of your elected position is drawn on my Treasury, I will need an explanation for the lack of Congressional regard for the American People, especially our children.
I will also require a detailed explanation as to why my government cannot negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for medication prices as is the practice in other countries. An explanation of the law as it is currently written is unnecessary. I am well aware of the legislation, what I require is detailed explanation of what you are doing to repeal this reckless legislation.
What must not be included in your detailed explanation is any defense of the current for-profit insurance nightmare that has been developed in the United States, which has been as successful as Milton Friedman's economic policies adopted by Ronald Reagan in 1981. We have learned that "trickle down" economics does not work, nor does our health care system. There is no reason to cling to either of these failed policies.
Let me reiterate: under no circumstances are you to defend the current system, it does not need to be defended, it needs to be dismantled completely and redone.
Even Margaret Thatcher, the Ronald Reagan counterpart that turned thousands of police officers and military against her own countrymen and women to break the labor unions, much like Reagan with the Air Traffic Controllers, said of the National Health Service "It is safe with us." Even Thatcher knew the U.K. National Health Service worked, and as one prominent Labour leader stated, "If they touched it there would have been revolution."
Perhaps that is what we need in the United States. Perhaps not, perhaps all we as constituents need to do is vote out politicians that live off the government dole, while they slash education, health, food programs, school lunch programs, while at the same time ensuring their own children and families are well cared for.
As a young man of 40, I have many years left, and while I am sinking myself into thousands of dollars of debt, (my wife as well) because of our abysmally planned higher education system, eventually I will be out of school armed with an education in Public Policy and Poli Sci from Washington State University, Vancouver. My wife will eventually be finished with her second Bachelor of Science, this one in Biology, from WSU Vancouver as well, her first a B.S. in Psychology from Portland State, and she will eventually be in and out of Medical School, with a mere $200,000 dollars in debt, and together we will work to ensure the current system in the United States is turned on it head.
An interesting side note, at this point in time, due to the failed policies of the past 30 years, we are considered poor enough to qualify for the State of Washington health care system. Thank you Washington. My primary care physician is a remarkable woman from India, where, when she trained there 15 years ago, related to me just today in conversation that India has programs that put women into Medical Schools for free. She also related to me the appalling amount of waste in the United States in relation to health care. You see, the Indians are interested in investing in their people; they approach government as government and not as a corporation that only thinks about the P&L Sheet. It is time to once again wake up and realize the U.S. government is not a business; it is a government, one that must invest in its people, not its lobbyists, and the CEO's of massive financial firms on Wall Street.
Ms. Patty Murray, Ms. Maria Cantwell, and Mr. Brian Baird, my wife, son and I are constituents in Washington State.
Mr. Mark Pryor and Ms. Blanche Lincoln, I have two children of voting age in your state, and two more that will soon be of voting age.
I am including some of our Republican elected officials in my request, so be assured I hold all Members of my Congress fully responsible for the paralysis on this and many other extraordinarily important issues.
Mid-terms are just around the corner, and 2012 will be here soon. As a former Conservative that voted Republican for 22 years, (for Heaven's sake I voted for Mike Huckabee of Arkansas; sorry about that, my wife proudly proclaims she did not) I have fully embraced the Democratic Party's principle of people over profit. Please do not disappoint me.
Thank you for your time, I realize you are in session, and I will be patient. However, please understand paralysis in D.C. is trying most Americans' patience. I will be following up with each of you, and I will post this letter and your responses on my blog, www.mikesearches.blogspot.com.
It is time for systemic change in the United States.