Dear Congressman Miller,
I appreciate the feedback you have given to my request as to your stand on healthcare reform.
However, I strongly disagree with your argument against the Health care reform bill. The market will not ensure good health care for people, it never has and it never will. Caring for the health and welfare of our wonderful citizens should not be in the hands of profit based insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industries, as the only way they can profit is to deny services when they are most needed. The pharmaceutical companies gouge the public at large. These tried and true tactics for profit only ensure that the wealthy can afford good preventative medicine and these industries are not in the business of saving people, they are in the business of making money.
No one is trying to take away America’s health care choices, we are trying to provide another choice other than the bad expensive choices that we have now. If you like what you have, you can keep it. I assume that you understand that people, such as myself, who are unemployed and cannot afford private insurance are not in a position to make choices. Where there is no money, there are no choices. Choices are for fortunate individuals such as yourself who will never have to be in my position, which by the way is not unique.
Here are some of the things that you have not addressed and that I am sure you are well aware of:
About half of the bankruptcy filings in the United States are due to medical expenses. Source: Health Affairs Journal 2005
Life expectancy at birth in the US is an average of 78.14 years, which ranks 47th in highest total life expectancy compared to other countries. Source: CIA Factbook (2008)
The United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Source: Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
In 2006, the percentage of Americans without health insurance was 15.8%, or approximately 47 million uninsured people. Source: US Census Bureau
The primary reason given for lack of health insurance coverage in 2005 was cost (more than 50%), lost job or a change in employment (24%), Medicaid benefits stopped (10%), ineligibility for family insurance coverage due to age or leaving school (8%). Source: National Center for Health Statistics
More than 40 million adults stated that they needed but did not receive one or more of these health services (medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care, dental care, or eyeglasses) in 2005 because they could not afford it. Source: National Center for Health
I think this fact is the one the best addresses your philosophy on allowing the market to offer choices
Medicare operates with 3% overhead, non-profit insurance 16% overhead, and private (for-profit) insurance 26% overhead. Source: Journal of American Medicine 2007
We are interested in real solutions, the status quo does not work. We are all aware who markets are good at providing for, and that’s the shareholders. The healthcare market is profit driven and does not serve the needs of the citizens of this country that won't bring a profit for the millions of dollars in payroll for the CEO’s. Sound familiar? Reminds me of the Banking industry that gets bailed out after they ripped apart the heart of this country. We the people suffer.
The scare tactics that are being used regarding people losing the current policies that they are happy with are false, and are an egregious misuse of the taxpayers trust. It’s right up there with Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The tax benefits do not help unless you can pay for services first. We cannot pay sir. We, as millions of others in this country forgo medical treatment altogether because we need to put food on the table for our children.
Your theories about this country’s grave situation is regrettable. Although, it has enlightened me. I will share your thoughts with many people that are in a similar situation as my family and we can make the appropriate choices on election day, as we did in the presidential election.
Thank you for your honesty!
From: Congressman Gary G. Miller [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 1:33 PM
Subject: Message from Congressman Gary G. Miller
August 13, 2009
Orange County, California 92691
Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on reforming our nation's health care system. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. I strongly believe that Congress must control skyrocketing health premiums and ensure quality delivery by giving consumers more options, so they can choose the best health care for themselves and their families.
As you may know, an estimated 40 million Americans are not covered by health insurance. To resolve this problem, some have proposed implementing a government-run health care system that would cover each and every American. While the theory behind universal health care is well-intended, it does not provide a realistic solution to the problem. Not only would it cost American taxpayers billions of dollars, it would compromise the quality and effectiveness of our healthcare system. By eliminating competition between hospitals, the incentive to provide quality healthcare would be dramatically reduced. However, if Americans are able to make their own health care choices, competition would increase and health insurance premiums would be reduced.
For this reason, I favor market-based approaches to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. For example, I am a strong supporter of the creation of Association Health Plans (AHPs), which would allow small businesses and the self-employed to pool their resources to purchase health insurance. AHPs can reduce the high cost of healthcare by providing small entrepreneurs with the same buying power that large employers and unions enjoy, and can reduce health insurance costs by 15 to 30 percent. In addition, I have continually supported legislation that increases health research funding, provides modern benefits to Medicare, and expands the number of tax deductions available to those individuals who pay for their own health care.
With constant diligence and thorough consideration, I strongly believe that Congress can improve access to quality health care for more Americans. As this process continues, please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind. Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope you will remain in touch in the future on other issues of importance to you.
GARY G. MILLER
Member of Congress