I'd written my Congressman and I just want to post that here to preserve it. I start with his initial response to something I wrote to him on his website, which I don't have a copy of. My reply to that is further down. Whatever you think of Obama Care, I think you have to be unimpressed with my tea party Congressman as he bases his actions on totally misleading and bad arguments. He complains that Obama Care leaves too many people without coverage. He complains that under Obama Care health care costs are going up. And so he actually voted against this recent bill that re-opened government on this basis, even though the system he fights for leaves more people uninsured, costs more, and raises the deficit even more. It's really quite bizarre. He needs a few facts injected in his mind, so I thought I'd help. Perhaps this will further entrench him in his Tea Party ways, as this research indicates often happens. But as also indicated at that link, truth in the face of repeated error can have an effect eventually. I'll do my part.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me, and for sharing your concerns over the government shut-down. We need to keep the government open. I have voted “yes” on two different continuing resolutions to fund the government for the upcoming fiscal year.
Fortunately, all members of Congress from both parties did come together in agreement that no matter what happens, our service members must receive their paychecks—shut-down or no. That is why the House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of the Pay Our Troops Act. This bill is a free-standing measure promising military members, some federal civilian personnel, and some federal contractors their pay even if funds for other government operations expire. Our soldiers, sailors, and airmen are not political pawns to be toyed with between the House, Senate, and White House.
That said, the main point of contention between the House and Senate is the implementation of ObamaCare. The bottom line is, no matter what any politician from either party will say about the other, the only way a shut-down can occur is if neither side is willing to compromise—or, one side won’t compromise and the other side won’t entirely give in. And in this respect, the President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have both made clear that no compromise is acceptable to them. “I will not negotiate on anything,” the President said.
That is unreasonable.
Unfortunately, Obama’s Affordable Care Act won’t get anywhere near granting universal insurance coverage to every American. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that after full implementation, 30 million of our fellow citizens will still be without insurance. In both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, we are seeing people lose their coverage. Recently UPS announced that they would no longer offer spousal insurance to their employees and the University of Virginia declared major changes to their healthcare benefits. Both explicitly cited the healthcare reform law as the reason for these changes. Other companies from Home Depot to Sea World to Trader Joes are doing the same. Employees in all sectors of our society are seeing their insurance be changed for the worse because of Obamacare.
Moreover, news outlets recently reported that the Affordable Care Act’s program to help those with preexisting conditions has failed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that it has run out of money to enroll any more individuals in the program. In response, it is blocking states from accepting any more applications to help those who need it. The White House has yet to offer a solution to this problem. Moreover, the technology that is needed for ObamaCare to function properly is still not ready to go.
This year, the Government Accountability Office reported that the healthcare bill adds $6.2 trillion to our long-term deficits. The additional personal costs to every American citizen are even more startling. President Obama promised a reduction of the average family premium by $2,500. The reality of the past two years is this: In 2010, the Kaiser Health Foundation reported the average family’s premium to be $13,770. In 2012, the number went to $15,745, almost a $2,000 increase. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Michiganders should expect their premiums to increase between 35% and 65%.
The American people want change. I am ready to work with any member of Congress who is looking for solutions to out-of-control costs that keep America at the cutting edge of medical innovation. I also do not want to shut down the government. That is why I have supported two different continuing resolutions to fund the government.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me regarding the debate over the continuing resolution and the government shut-down. Please contact me about this or any other issue as it develops. It is an honor to represent Michigan’s 11th district in Congress.
Member of Congress
Your response is very disappointing because it expresses several very misleading rhetorical points. I’m not saying this is your doing. I’m sure these are ideas that are expressed in strategy meetings, but if we look closely at the claims we can see how unreasonable they are.
The key is to recognize that this is a choice between alternatives. So for instance you point out that Obama Care increases the deficit. What you fail to mention is that the prior system, the system you are fighting to save, increases the deficit even more, which is why repealing Obama Care increases the deficit. You say that Obama Care leaves 30 million without insurance. The prior system left nearly 50 million without insurance. You say under Obama Care health care costs are up $2,000 in 2012. What amount would they have gone up under the prior system? We all know they’ve been going up astronomically and unsustainably prior to Obama Care. Kaiser, the same source you cite regarding costs, further points out that this increase is modest as compared to the last 10 years. Meaning costs are lower than they would have been without Obama Care. I think it’s highly misleading to portray these as negatives when they are all reflecting much better results than the system you are fighting for.
I’m glad you think military personnel should be paid, but what about people at our national parks? What about scientists doing research. What about NASA workers? Don’t they also have families and bills that need to be paid? I am an engineer and I have contact with former NASA employees. Brilliant people who take reduced wages because of the passion for the work. We’re sticking it to them, all to return to a health care system that is nothing to get excited about. It would be one thing if you were fighting for a system that cost half as much and produced better outcomes, like the systems that exist throughout the rest of the industrialized world. But instead you’re fighting for a system that costs twice as much per capita and leaves the poor with few options. The ones the end up pursuing (ER visits) are about as inefficient as you can get.
I understand that in politics people use whatever methods they have available to them. Republicans can refuse to pass a budget. That’s a tool in their tool kit. But it seems the strategy is to cause so much pain that Obama and the Democrats will finally become so disgusted they’ll back down on duly passed laws that they regard as their signature achievement. Do you think this reflects well on you and your party? This is hurting small businesses, such as small restaurants and shops that operate near National Parks. We’ve lost monitoring capability for our environment, which is now prey to people that might pollute to save money and improve profit. People that work in the public sector maybe can’t pay their bills, and this threatens an economy in recovery. This is happening because Republicans have been unable to win through the electoral process. Passing laws. Their last resort is pain for everyone. This makes sense to you? If Obama Care is as terrible as you believe it will be then you’ll get voters to support you in the future and repeal it. The pain and harm being done here is not worth a return to our prior system. Even if you think Obama Care is bad and our prior system is better, you can’t regard it as so much better that it’s worth this much misery.