Dear Mr. Vail:Needless to say...it's the usual BS non-answer of a professional politician who just doesn't really care what his constituents desire.
Thank you for contacting me about the affordability of health care reform.
Earlier this year, several Congressional committees began work on legislation to reduce the overall cost of health care for all Americans and expand coverage to the millions who are uninsured. Our overarching goal is to achieve meaningful reforms that will maintain what works in our health care system and fix what is broken. Although the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare, Medicaid, and the financing of health reform, has not yet reported a bill, it is expected to do so shortly. Please be assured that I have read the bills that have been reported so far, and I will carefully read the Senate Finance Committee's bill before its provisions are debated on the Senate floor.
Everyday, more than 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance coverage, and the cost of medical care increases in this country, so the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of reform. Ten years ago, the average cost of a family health insurance policy in Maryland was $7,000, it is now more than $12,000, and if we do nothing, it is projected to be $23,000 by 2016. Providing Americans with a guarantee of stable, comprehensive medical coverage, along with strong insurance regulation will bring down the cost of care. A public option can help bring down the cost of health care. With fewer insurance companies offering coverage, competition is eroded and there is less incentive to control costs. This is apparent in Maryland, where only two companies control 71 percent of the private insurance market. A public plan could save money through lower administrative costs and greater efficiencies, which would in turn incentivize private insurers to be more efficient.
As the Senate continues deliberation, I hope we can agree that the only option that should not be on the table is the status quo. We cannot allow the current state of our health care system, which is too expensive and too fragmented, to continue. My objective is to make health care more affordable for American families' budgets and for our nation's budget. In order to achieve balanced federal budgets again, we must get health care costs under control, and in doing so, we will be able to make America more competitive in the global economy.
In addition, there are more than 46 million Americans who lack health insurance, and that number has grown by 20 percent in the past eight years. In Maryland, 760,000 people are uninsured. Underscoring the need for action is the fact that every day, Americans are filing for personal bankruptcy because they can't pay the health care bills they have incurred. In addition, when the uninsured cannot pay, health care providers shift those costs to those who can. It has been estimated that each American family with health insurance pays an additional $1,100 in premiums each year because of those who are unwilling or unable to get coverage.
I support reform that builds on our current system. I am privileged to represent a state that is home to two great medical centers-Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland--and to the National Institutes of Health. Marylanders are justifiably proud of our state's tradition of high quality medical care. We want to maintain the ability to choose the doctors and hospitals where we receive care. I want Marylanders and all other Americans to be able to choose the health care plan in which they participate. For these reasons, we need to build on our current system.
As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I firmly believe that any reform proposals we enact must be fully paid for, and the budget resolution passed by Congress requires that. I will carefully evaluate all options for financing health reform, keeping in mind the disproportionate effect that some provisions under discussion would have on working families. Health care access is an issue that stretches across all communities and many income levels, and it is not limited to members of one political party.
The President has made health care reform a priority for this Administration, and Congress has been striving to achieve workable solutions that can move our nation forward. I will continue to work in a bipartisan manner for solutions that will truly bring down the cost of health care in this country and expand access to quality care for all.
Again, thank you for letting me know your views on this important issue.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Here is the "answer" from Senator Ben Cardin, D MD to my letter expressing opposition to the Federal Government's seizing control of the American health care system. Especially in light of the Baucus' plan will only "help" 11% more people while gutting the health care system in this country.