Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Honorable Congressman Rangel:

I am currently very fortunate to have a job with a terrific health benefits package.

I haven't always been so fortunate. For periods between jobs, or when freelancing and self-employed I had to pay all my doctor bills out-of-pocket. That usually meant staying away from medical care--including preventive care--except for the Emergency Room.

But I couldn't afford that either.

I have wanted to go into business for myself for a couple of years now, but with a wife and child, I can't afford to pay the high insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles I would be forced to put up myself if we had an individual family policy.

My wife had breast cancer last year. It was diagnosed just after she had had major shoulder surgery.

We were lucky. We happened to have good coverage at the time, so she got the treatment she needed without waiting, haggling, or forgoing necessary tests and procedures.

HR636 -- Medicare for all -- is the most popular health reform legislation in the House, with ninety-four co-sponsors, and counting.

President Obama has explained why the steps to single-payer are beyond our accomplishing this year. Very well. Let us at least take good steps in that direction.

A strong public insurance option, available nationwide to everyone from the day the legislation takes effect could make health INSURANCE--if not CARE--accessible to everyone.

It's already a compromise from the reasonable solution: Single-payer healthcare.

We need to get the insurance companies and lobbyists out of our hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. They make universal healthcare unaffordable. Besides, there can be no meaningful cost reductions in a fee-for-service model.

Please fight for the right of your constituents to insure ourselves through a strong public insurance option, available to everyone nationwide, without delays or triggers, and under the control of Congress and the voters.

This is the only way to begin to work toward Single-payer, which is the long term solution to the problem of rising medical costs.

The problem of delivery of services is a different "bottle of medicine." Service delivery problems are not the same thing as payment/cost problems in our healthcare system. Yet neither set of issues can be resolved independently of the other.

Thank you for your leadership in the fight for a strong Public Insurance Option. We must win this fight.

It is only the first step on the path to an affordable and equitable system, and we still have very far to go.

Thank you and God bless you!


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