In light of recent reports out of the Associated Press regarding a possible bipartisan health care reform bill that lacks an employer mandate and a government-run public option, I felt it appropriate to write the White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/) and express my support for both tenets of any potential reform bill.
As I mentioned in this space last night, the bill being discussed has not been finalized and brought to the floor yet. Nor has it been reconciled with the HELP bill or whatever legislation comes out of the House. There's no guarantee this bill is the one that will hit President Obama's desk in the fall.
However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't speak up. My letter reads as follows:
In light of recent reports regarding a bipartisan health care bill in the Senate that lacks both an employer mandate and a government-run public option, I am writing you to ask that you veto any final health care bill that comes to your desk without either option.
Any bill that includes an individual insurance mandate, but not an employer mandate, is inherently flawed and unfair. I'm opposed to the individual mandate as it is, since I haven't yet seen how low-income individuals and families will be able to afford insurance, and since I'm not exactly sure how such a thing would curb costs. But if there is to be an individual mandate, then there must be an employer mandate, as well.
I also feel that without a strong public option, any attempt at health care reform will be a waste of time and money. The CBO has already agreed that a public option will be cost-effective, and that it will not drive private insurers out of business. What a public option would do, however, is compete with the private corporations to keep premiums and costs down.
I'm all for forcing the private insurers to take on people with pre-existing conditions, and I applaud the effort to keep them from randomly raising premiums. I also ask that you make it illegal for insurance companies to rescind policies on mere technicalities, just when people need them most.
But most importantly, Mr. President, I ask that you veto any health care reform bill that reaches your desk without an employer mandate and without a strong public option. The American people are loud and clear on this, and it is up to you to uphold your campaign promise and fight for us.
Let the insurance companies fend for themselves. The American people need your leadership.
Thank you for your time, Mr. President."
I encourage everyone to write to the President, their Senators and their representatives in the House. The more we tell our elected officials what we want, the more we put the pressure on them to do right by the American people. In addition, there are several online petitions making the rounds; add your voice to those as well.
We have as much at stake in this debate as Washington does, if not more so. Call or email your elected officials, tell them what you want. They are there to serve you, so we need to make more noise than those who oppose true reform.
It's up to us.