Response to Russ Carnahan letter

Rep. Russ Carnahan sent a letter out to constituents today that amused so many people I’ve received it times infinity with reactions in my inbox. My comments in bold.

Now Is the Time

After hearing from people back home it’s clear that contrary to what you may see and hear in the news, there is far more common ground on the issue of health care than being reported. People across America – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, alike – are struggling to keep up with rising costs, and they are anxious about what the future holds.

[Then why won’t Democrats include tort reform in the health care legislation? Why, as Howard Dean said, are you so afraid to take on trial lawyers? Is it because a generous portion of financing comes from them? ]

We all agree that the current system is unsustainable and unaffordable. We know that health care is the number one contributor to our deficit and to personal bankruptcies. It’s the greatest economic threat to individuals and families, to businesses large and small, and to our nation’s long-term fiscal stability.

[Continuous bailouts are the greatest threat to economic sustainability. There’s this insane belief from the beltway left that the economy is bad because of health care. The economy is bad because of the failed stimulus, because of the nationalizing of many private industries – because of poor fiscal choices made by this administration. health care is suffering because people are losing their jobs. At Carnie’s town hall in Mehlville, one of his surrogates said, and I quote: “We’ve discovered that as more and more people lose their jobs, they also lose their health care.” Of course they do.]

And we know that if we do nothing, the problem will get worse. Health care costs will continue to rise three times faster than wages, millions more Americans will lose their coverage, and businesses will find it impossible to compete in the global market.

[Businesses find it difficult to compete in the global market because the freedom of that market is under attack.]

We have a tremendous opportunity right now to prevent that future from becoming a reality. We can – and must – provide a uniquely American solution to this crisis, a solution that builds on what works and fixes what’s broken.

[No, what we MUST do is approach health care intelligently, not hastily, and allow for debate, none of which has been done thus far.]

We can – and must – put doctors and patients back in charge, lower costs, offer more choices and competition, and improve the quality of health care for everyone in this country.

[How do you propose to put patients and doctors back in charge while also advocating for a government exchange? Why not give the federal employer subsidies to the employees so that they may have the freedom to choose and insurances companies are forced to compete like never before? What you are supporting is MORE governmental control.]

We can – and must – give Americans peace of mind that they can keep the care they like and never be denied the care they need.

[Americans aren’t denied care. I’ve gone without insurance for extended periods before as have some close friends and family members and we were never denied care. We paid our bills in installments but no one is denied.]

I know that some of you still have concerns about insurance reform, and I want to briefly address these concerns.

First, I understand – and share – the concern about government spending. I am a strong supporter of balancing budgets just as each family must do, and I will not support reform that is not deficit neutral.

[Then why do you support health care legislation that is going to further add to our deficit? The CBO has adamantly rejected claims from the White House that this legislation is deficit neutral.]

Secondly, I will not support legislation that does not allow you to keep your current coverage and doctor. No one – not the government, and not the insurance company bureaucrats – should get between you and your doctor. If you like your current coverage, you can keep it. If not, a public or non-profit option will help provide a quality, affordable alternative that will help increase competition, hold the private insurers accountable, and keep costs down.

[So long as that doctor is covered in the proposed exchanged. If they’re not, then no, you can’t keep your doctor. Not entirely true.]

Finally, there has been a lot of disinformation spread by those who are profiting from our broken system. The legislation before the House of Representatives explicitly prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion or for covering those in this country illegally. There is also no such thing as “death panels” and absolutely no cuts to Medicare benefits.

[This is where Carnahan parrots the part of the presidential address where he inferred that people who actually read the bill and quoted parts of it were liars. Annenberg’s (I know, right?) completely debunks Carnahan’s claims that this legislation will not cover abortions. Additionally, when you have an appointed board, as proposed, who decides who gets what care and when, yes, for some, that is their death panel.]

We need to have common-sense solutions that restore the stability that has been missing for far too long. Now is the time to fix it. That’s what the American people expect and that’s what they deserve. As always, do not hesitate to write or call to share your views about this important issue intended to hold health insurance companies accountable and reduce the costs of health care for every American.

[It would have been fantastic if Carnahan included lowering drug costs in this as well, but after President Obama’s backroom deal with big pharma, I don’t see that happening.]


Russ Carnahan