I just finished reading your position on health care, posted on your website www.house.gov/salazar/, and I am writing to say how enthusiastically I support you. I am especially pleased that you recognize the importance of a public option. I hope you will fight with everything you’ve got to make meaningful reform a reality.
I believe that in taking a clear position you are demonstrating impressive political courage. The attacks against health care reform have been vicious, what with hateful talk of death panels and encroaching socialism and unyielding, knee-jerk Republican opposition. I’m sure you have had to consider that in doing what’s right for America and for your constituents, you may come under attack.
I hereby pledge to support you strongly if you do.
I want to confirm what you state on your website, that the broken system you are working to fix is hurting us right here in the Third Congressional District – and we have the advantage of a relatively well-functioning system in Grand Junction and our homegrown nonprofit insurance company, Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Through RMHP I offer the best group policy I can afford to our employees here at the Watch, and have watched our premiums increase year after year, at the same time that the benefits have shrunk. Not only am I paying more each year for less, but so are my employees.
Obviously, the higher costs make it far more difficult for me to grow my business, or give employees the raises they deserve. With more of our money spent on health care, there is less for other things. We all eat out less, travel less, and spend less on entertainment and clothing. All of this depresses the local economy.
I recently asked my personal physician if he could guess how much it cost last year for health care, everything included, for my wife, our son, and me. He guessed “about $10,000.” In fact, it was $22,000 just in health insurance premiums, plus we had another $10,000 or so in deductibles. (It was a rough year.) That means we spent over $30,000 for the three of us last year.
To me, and I would imagine to most residents of this district, this is a breathtaking number!
I understand that some of your constituents may be afraid of change, worried that whatever the reform package brings us may be even worse than what we have now. I am the opposite. I am afraid that without change, our health care costs will bankrupt us, not only my small business in the Western San Juans, but the entire nation.
It is easy to for me to buy President Obama’s argument that health care reform is a necessary part of an economic recovery. If we can just get these inexorably rising costs under control, then we can start to invest in other things.
There is, on top of the practical necessities of maintaining our health and fixing the economy, a moral imperative behind health care reform. As an employer, one reason we offer the benefit of a group health plan is so that we never find ourselves in the position of seeing a coworker faced with a health crisis they can’t afford. I am horrified when I hear about a bake sale put on to help someone pay for their child’s leukemia treatments. Health care is as much a necessity of modern life as is food and clean drinking water. Ensuring that it is universally available and affordable is simply a bottom-line requirement for a civilized society.
I appreciate the emphasis you place on ensuring that health care reform addresses the specific challenges faced by rural communities. You are right-on about this.
If there is anything more you need in the way of support for this critical cause, please let me know and I will not only do what I can, but will pass the word on to anyone I can reach.
This is the cause of our time and the position you have outlined on it is commendable.