Monday, November 23, 2009

To Senators: Oppose “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” HR 3692

Oppose “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” HR 3692

Dear Sir or Madam:

Most Americans are not in favor of this legislation. This legislation has many problem; I will list a few, but there are many others which lead me to believe the best course is to reject the bill and modify it to include strict tort limits and other recommendations from the Republican house bill which did not move forward.

Upon reading this legislation it is apparent that an unfunded federal mandate will force states to raise taxes greatly to support required Medicaid expansion ($34 billion), the "Doc Fix" ($245 billion), and authorized discretionary spending for grants, public programs, changes and funding for a variety of agencies that would be responsible for implementing H.R. 3962. This is a grossly unfair attack on the states and their citizens – who elected you by the way. The federal government should not make unfunded mandates to states.

Another issue with this bill is that it does not prohibit federal funding from being used for stem cell research, abortions, or other procedures morally objectionable to the majority of Americans who believe in the sanctity of human life. This is an intolerable abuse of my tax dollars – I do not want my tax monies to be used for these kinds of procedures, and nothing in this legislation prevents it from happening.

Another issue with this bill (another of many) is the de facto discrimination against women. I refer to the 'Botax' or tax on cosmetic procedures, 95% of which are performed on women.

Another issue with this bill is the tax on elective surgery. Not all surgery deemed 'elective' is really elective. Not to perform the surgery could substantially impact a person's life or livelihood. This new tax is unfair to those who suffer from painful conditions for which surgery is considered 'elective'. Given this tax, may will put off needed surgery for years, trying therapies that don't work, substantially impacting lives.

Another issue is that the income levels for single and married individuals are not indexed to inflation. Hundreds of thousands of people will creep into the 'rich' bracket. These income levels should be indexed to the same cost of living increases as Social Security.

Another issue is that the income levels required to be considered 'rich' is far lower for each person of a married couple than it is for a single individual. This is just another 'marriage tax' - a big one – which unfairly targets people who choose to marry. Why should marital status make any difference in health care costs or ability to pay? It doesn’t.

Another issue is the tax on so-called high-value plans. This is unfair and discriminates against people who work, and against companies who choose to treat their employees well by offering such plans. People should not be taxed on their plan value. This is a clear violation of individual rights to choose their health care.

Another issue with the legislation is the tax on health savings accounts. Why, since these are pre-income-tax, are these being targeted? The whole point is to allow individuals to reduce their income taxes and out of pocket health care costs. These are good plans. It is yet another federal tax on employment. Why discourage people from working and saving money, people who are struggling to make ends meet but still employed and diligently working productively?

The CBO estimates that H.R. 3962, the health bill that the House passed, would cost $1.2 TRILLION over 10 years. This is unaffordable. The most realistic projections show that the number of people legally in this country who want health insurance but cannot get it due to pre-existing conditions is around 9 million people. $1.2 trillion over 10 years for 9 million people?

The bill protects trial lawyers. The bill gives money (authorized at "such sums") to states that enact "certificate of merit" (a document signed by a medical professional that says there is a probability that the standard of care was violated) and / or a certificate of "early offer" (an early, confidential apology) laws, as long as the states don't limit attorneys' fees or impose caps on damages.

Suggestion on how to fund national health care: Get the $1.4 trillion back first from the banks, insurers and other companies who got bailouts. If they fail, liquidate their assets and use the proceeds to offset health care costs. If a company is not viable then taxpayers should not pay to prop up a zombie company no matter if the government considers them to be 'too big to fail' - a concept which is pure horse hockey.

One final note: Everyday working Americans, who have much to lose if this bill passes, are paying attention to your actions. We are fully aware who is up for re-election next year, and in 2011, 2013, and 2015. We will note who votes for this legislation. I hope you do not. However, if you fail to consider the majority's view, and if you vote 'for' this bill, understand one thing: We will vote you out. Whenever you come up for re-election, you will be targeted on this issue. We will tell everyone we know not to vote for you, and advise our friends to vote against you as you would have voted against us if you vote for this bill.

I hope you do not vote for this bill. I hope you do the right thing as a representative of the people of your state and vote ‘No’.

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