(Here is a short complaint letter I sent to my US Senators. I have basically given up on writing these people because they seem to have ideological blinders on (especially Mr. Cornyn).
Dear Mr. Cornyn and Ms. Hutchinson:
I wanted to point out one fact: my Aetna individual health insurance rates skyrocketed 40% in 4 months. I am a perfectly healthy person and haven’t visited the doctor in 4 years. (The rates of other companies have gone up considerably).
That is capitalism. I accept that. What I don’t accept is your failure to participate in any kind of meaningful discussion about health care reform (except in an obstructionist and jeering way). Solving my particular problem isn’t rocket science: individual mandates coupled with some kind of subsidies for indigent people. Most observers say this is a fair and necessary policy change.
When I see this 40% increase, I blame YOU specifically for failing to endorse any comprehensive solution.
Here are 4 articles I wrote about the subject of health reform.
My recent thinking about death spirals and health insurance.
(I know your position papers and mass mailouts are full of the usual libertarian claptrap; I address these concerns in a general way)
How the notion of a free market in health insurance assumes an infinite amount of time and knowledge to make decisions. Some people have this luxury; most do not.
In 2008 I wrote an article for Texans about how to buy individual health insurance.Suffice to say I have looked into Texas consumer issues in depth.
I have been tempted to write detailed responses to any one of your misguided missives, but frankly, your arguments are replete with misinformation and industry talking points; why bother? But I’ll throw out random remarks.
(RESPONSE: Entitlements is a problem, but not THE problem, which is adverse selection and death spirals. You are diverting attention away from the REAL problem).
I reject the premise of your article. The Mass Senate victory was fueled by Massachusetts people’s antipathy towards helping states with stingy Medicaid coverage.
this article is frankly nonsense. Earmarks are not THE problem here (but they are A problem). This horse-trading is being done because of Republican obstructionism. If you supported a comprehensive solution, this kind of horsetrading would not need to be done.
I’ve seen different numbers than the ones you quote. Also, you haven’t really distinguished your bugaboo from the status quo (which is already swallowing us in health care increases). Also, your complaints would seem to be an argument for single payer.
(I just wanted to say this is one of the vaguest articles I have seen. Transparency is important and a debatable issue with respect to health care reform. but it is a minor side issue).
You say the bill was rammed in the middle of the night. This is grandstanding and you know it. You guys had an entire year to debate many provisions of this bill (and I watched hours of it on CSPAN). You can’t on the one hand be obstructionist and at the same time blame Democrats for having to do last minute negotiations as a result of your intransigence. You can’t pretend ignorance about what was in the bill. Legislation is always a moving target, but to claim that the Democrats are hiding their activity from public scrutiny is dishonest and unfair. (By the way, I sure wish I could have been able to witness the discussions of Aetna execs when they decided to raise my rates. Oh well, I guess I won’t be hearing you express any pseudo-outrage about that!)
(At least this gets into specifics! ) My basic response is: so what! You shouldn’t accuse Obama of saying falsehoods without stating the context of each remark (which is that Republican intransigence forced the bill to be reshaped several times). You talk about more taxes. So what! From my perspective it’s either paying increased costs to insurance companies or the government. You talk about tax credits. (which I’m semi-neutral about). But so what! You are focusing on the viability of insurance markets when you should be focusing on health outcomes. Is it a matter of indifference to you that insurance coverage in Texas is one of the nation’s highest and that our Medicaid is one of the stingiest?
Finally Ms. Hutchinson you have failed to take responsibility for the increased mortality rates as a result of noninsurance. I would think that in Texas this would be the number one issue. For you, that seems to be hardly worth mentioning. You seem more concerned with preserving a market free of regulation even if it means worse outcomes and rapidly increasing individual rates.
That is sad.
Update: This screencapture about summarizes the kind of games Cornyn plays.