The following is a letter I have written to my Democratic Congressperson in the wake of the Massachusetts election. Rest assured it has already been answered by a boilerplate response touting the virtues of the House bill. They still just don’t get it. At this point, I am actually rooting for them to go the secret meeting and reconciliation route – this will maximize the voter backlash in November. Also, the use of unprincipled tactics to pass the bill will help to justify overturning it in the future.
Here is my letter, (which was hastily written and which I am now tempted to edit):
Perhaps it has escaped your notice that I was correct in predicting the price that Democrats will pay at the polls due to the stinking, mismanaged, corrupt mess embodied in the Congressional Health Care bills.
You need to pay attention because this is coming your way as well. Don’t be misled by the spin apparati who are trying to say that Massachusetts is unique because the citizens already have universal health care and therefore the bill was not important to them. This is patently untrue – Mass has many, many retirees and poor citizens who depend on the FEDERAL Medicare and Medicaid programs. They are scared about what will happen to their future health care under the proposed bills. This fear has come out as anger.
With good reason. Perhaps you know that recently the Mayo Clinic in Glendale AZ reluctantly decided to not accept Medicare patients. Why? Because they already lose about 50% on every Medicare patient they accept due to the low fee reimbursement schedule! This fee gap will be accelerated by the baseline Medicare cuts in the Congressional Health Care bills and further accelerated in future cuts made by the “Independent Medicare Advisory Board” included in the Senate Bill. This Board is mandated to make recommendations for Medicare fee cuts per an annual schedule – neither house in Congress is allowed to fulfill their Constitutional duties regarding controlling the purse strings – per the bill they are forbidden to contest the Board’s recommended Medicare fee cuts and they would simply be “out of order” if they tried to change the rules back to regain control of the purse strings!! Simply unbelievable – Congress is providing itself a ready-made excuse for the draconian Medicare cuts to come. Constituents shouldn’t blame them or vote them out for denying them access to health care! Their hands are simply tied by the provisions of the law, you see!
Knowledge that reduced access to health care is built into the proposed bills is part of the reason why older people are terrified of health care reform and why they are deserting the Party in droves. Try to recall a few short months ago that the Mayo Clinic was repeatedly lauded by President Obama for their cost-effective approach to health care. Now, the Clinic’s financial inability to maintain services for Medicare patients is handwriting on the wall for all to see – especially poignant proof of the disaster that awaits us all under Government-mandated health care. By the time I am eligible for Medicare benefits, (7 years from now) I fully expect to find a “Medicare Ghetto” underserved and eschewed by doctors and medical institutions. On the basis of a recent sham amendment, Congress will try to claim that they have not cut “basic benefits,” but, in effect, this will be a lie because Congress will simply have forced health care providers (by cutting their fees) to be their proxies in cutting the services provided to patients. In fact, many elderly patients will probably not even be able to find a doctor to serve them (check the CBO projections).
This is only one of the problems with the proposed health care bills. Another is the severe shortfall in the out years for States resulting from the expansion of the Medicaid program without sufficient Federal support (another abrogation of Federal responsibility in the name of making these phony programs look “revenue neutral.”) In fact, States (who are already being consumed by Medicaid expenses) will be forced to raise State and local taxes and fees and to cut other programs, like education and public safety, in order to make up this shortfall. Oh wait – I forgot didn’t I – some States won’t have increased costs after all because their Senators have been bribed with offers of Federal support to pay the additional Medicaid burden in perpetuity. Have you gotten our State a good deal, Representative? I guess not – you didn’t hold out long enough – you just couldn’t resist french-kissing ObamaCare on the very first date!
As I said before, the proposed health care bills are a stinking, mismanaged (and corrupt) perversion of the legislative process.
I could argue that you need to listen to me because I am a 30-year FDA alum – a Public Health Pro and I know this stuff cold. But perhaps it will have more impact if I tell you to simply listen to the people of Massachusetts.
They aren’t just angry – they are afraid – afraid of you and the second-rate, non-sustainable health care you intend for them and theirs. I want you to think about that. And hopefully you might then think about a middle road toward improvement, rather than destruction, of our health care system.