An Open Letter to Senator Russ Feingold on Health Care

Dear Senator Feingold,

Recently, you have voiced your support for a strong public option that would allow the government to compete with private insurance companies in providing care to patients. The idea is to expand health care coverage to the 46 million Americans who are currently uninsured. In a recent article, you said “reforming health care is necessary to getting health spending under control”. However, the Congressional Budget Office recently reported that President Obama’s public option would cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars in ten years, and 83% of that trillion would crush taxpayers like a ton of bricks in the last five years. Senator, this is not the fiscal responsibility you have alleged. And we cannot afford a trillion dollar increase in taxes when our budget deficit is the highest it has been in American history.

Congressman Paul Ryan and others have voiced a concern that President Obama’s public option plan will create an environment where private insurance companies will not be able to compete against the government. A government program doesn’t have to pay taxes, doesn’t account for its employees and their benefits, and doesn’t negotiate payments with health care providers. Like we see with Medicare, the government will dictate reimbursement rates to medical facilities at below market pricing, which not only shortchanges the hospitals and clinics, but makes it impossible for private insurance companies to compete fairly. And when the government shortchanges medical facilities, they will in turn pass it on to insurance companies who will in turn pass it on to us. This will encourage employers to dump their employees on the government plan because paying the 8% payroll tax penalty for each employee will be much easier than actually providing health care coverage.

I don’t want Canadian-styled universal health care.  Americans don't go to other countries for health care service.  Instead foreign citizens come to the U.S. for a health care system that provides more options in pharmaceuticals, superior medical technology, and the best emergency services on the planet. In an interview with Democracy Now, you admitted that the current Congress will pass a health care reform bill that will open the door for a single health care system. I have a serious problem with this. This means that Democrats in Congress know that passing a universal health care bill will not sit well with the American people, so they have devised a plan to pass a bill that slowly shrinks the market for private insurance companies while increasing government control. It’s like slowly heating the frog in the stew so he doesn’t realize he’s being cooked. This is dishonest gamesmanship by politicians in Washington.

Dr. Doug Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, said that creating a government subsidy necessary for expanding health care coverage will not lower our health care costs, but increase them to unsustainable levels because the growth in government spending will exceed the growth of our economy. This greatly concerns me because unsustainable costs not only lead to heavy taxation on the middle class, but will force the hand of government to implement cost controlling measures like “rationing care.”

I urge you Senator not to support Obama’s public option. If you vote for the public option, the government will not only own our car companies and banks, but it will also own our health care industry. Senator, if you vote for the public option, you will not only lose my vote, but I will do my very best to make sure your constituency knows that their Senator would rather encourage unsustainable health care costs than defend the very people that voted him into office.

Sincerely,

Aaron M. Rodriguez

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