Another letter to my Senators, before tomorrow's vote on the massive 2074-page bill:
Healthcare in the United States has some problems. The current healthcare bill seeks to address a couple of those problems, such as lifetime caps on benefits, preexisting conditions, and higher premiums or lack of insurability due to preexisting conditions.
However, the more significant issues are not addressed in the bill.
• Frivolous lawsuits and excessive damages are the greatest cost in healthcare today, but tort reform is not addressed in this bill.
• Many people have problems with their insurance denying coverage due to the cost of procedures or perceived necessity of procedures. This bill does not resolve these issues; rather, it adds another layer of bureaucracy – or several – which can deny claims.
• Some are concerned by waiting times for critical procedures. But many expects expect these problems not only not to be improved, but to in fact multiply. Most countries with highly-regulated or federally-provided healthcare have extensive waiting periods for even minor procedures, and some procedures have waiting periods of years, where US citizens can currently get most procedures within days or weeks.
• Insurance premiums are a tremendous concern to many. But the additional regulation and taxes in the bill will certainly increase the cost of both healthcare and insurance. Some experts say that insurance premiums will double within the next year or two.
More troubling, however, for every day that passes, we keep finding more problems in the current healthcare bill.
• We knew that a panel would be established with the power to unquestionably and unappealably decide what does or does not qualify and who does or does not get coverage under Medicare. Some have euphemistically referred to this as a "death panel."
o We now know that this panel will be composed of five individuals appointed by the President, without accountability, without oversight, and without any Senate ability to repeal the panel in the future.
• We knew that the bill has MANY bribes, payoffs, coercions, and other incentives for Senators who were previously hesitant concerning or opposed to the bill. This includes $300 million from the US taxpayers for Louisiana's state healthcare, for which the state, from its own taxpayers, was otherwise expected to pay itself.
o We now know that the US taxpayers will be responsible for every penny of Medicare costs for Nebraska for the rest of time.
• We knew that all US citizens will be required – and unconstitutionally so – to obtain and maintain health insurance, the first time that citizens have ever been required to purchase a service simply for the privilege of living. We also know that only Federally-approved plans will be acceptable.
o But we do not know what criteria will be placed on the acceptable insurance place. Despite the length of over two-thousand pages of the bill, criteria for acceptable insurance programs are not specified in it. These all-important criteria will be specified later.
• In addition, we also now know that abortion will be funded by taxpayer dollars. We have determined that healthcare providers who have conscientious objections to providing abortion will be required to participate anyway or else suffer punitive action.
• We also know that the current bill will institute taxes and fees immediately, but will not start any benefits for another four years. We will be paying for five years of benefits over nine years of taxes and fees. This is not sustainable and results in unrealistic projections.
We also know that you voted for cloture, to end debate and to proceed toward a vote. (In the version sent to Senator Webb:) We know that despite your opposition expressed in your emails to many aspects of the bill, you have effectively voted for it.
The majority of Americans, and the majority of Virginians, do not want this bill. The majority of your constituents do not want this bill. Please work in the interest of your constituents and work against this bill.