Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We Agree & Disagree on Health Reform

U. S. Representative Michael C. Burgess
1224 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
P: (202) 225-7772
F: (202) 225-2919

RE: Health Reform Bill

My Dear Congressman:

You stated: “I voted no on this legislation, but I will admit that there are parts of this bill that are good, such as the increased steps to tackle the problems of waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid. I am pleased that several of my bipartisan amendments that make needed improvements to the bill were accepted. But, despite Republican attempts to improve the bill, many parts are still missing, such as medical liability reform.

Thank you for stating your position, openly and honestly. I agree with you, in part, and differ in other parts. Maybe this would be a good starting point for consensus between you and my community.

We agree: Americans want quality health care that is affordable. I also concur that some Americans want to be able to keep their current health insurance and doctor. But the assertion, “this bill takes those decisions out of their hands and into the hands of the government,” I beg to differ, after going over the bill.

All health insurance policies in effect prior to Year (Y1) will remain in effect and continuous for as long as the policyholder wishes, or until the insurance company drops coverage. However, a government insurance alternative, created to force down the cost of healthcare coverage, may be turn out to be a cheaper and better option than their current policy with annual escalating costs.

Your formula for cutting health insurance cost by medical liability reform may be a good idea. But I believe medical liability claims should be judged and awarded by juries, and the medical industry must come to grips with the severity of people's judgment in tort cases. (Here again, this is just my option, and has nothing to do with the current legislation).

You also wrote: With this bill, the Democrats will drastically expand the federal government’s involvement in health care by adding millions more to the rolls of Medicaid.

Are there people currently not receiving healthcare treatment, simply because they cannot get on the Medicaid rolls? How about my daughter-in-law and the millions like her, medically neglected every day? So, what’s wrong with adding millions more to the Medicaid rolls. Raising the cap of Medicare payroll deduction from $87,000 to wage and salary earning up to $1 million. That would insure Medicare/Medicaid solvency and allow more medically neglected individuals to be added to the rolls.

You also claim that this bill creates a new government entitlement – the government-run health insurance option. The health insurance industry has held the American public hostage from the beginning. Every year, the insurance companies raise our rates, and there is nothing we can do about it. There is no truly competitive alternative. This bill gives the public an out.

If this is an “entitlement” by your definition, then the American public is certainly entitled to it.

Finally, you claim that this bill will strap billions of dollars in new taxes and penalties on the backs of hard-working Americans and small businesses. They will replace choice and freedom with new federal mandates.

We have heard from the small business community. If they can keep insurance cost down, they can invest more in their businesses and provide health coverage for their employees. This is not currently possible with annual insurance rate increases. However, a competitively priced government insurance program would afford them a more economical alternative to private insurers.

As a medical doctor, you are probably looking at the proposed oversight task force as intrusive upon your private practice. But you must realize that the public needs protection from being subjected to unnecessary medical procedures for practitioners’ profits. (And, you have to look no further than the case of Michael Jackson to find proof.)

We both hope that the American people will make their voices heard and demand that Congress pass real health care reform that will fix what is wrong and build on what works.

Looking at the investment on the preventative (or wellness) side of the bill, we might wisely speculate that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is another way of saying that there is real cost saving in preventative care.

How much? We cannot say. You are the doctor. Tell us how much prevention can save on medical cost down the road.

Therefore, this notion of more government spending, more federal debt, higher taxes, and more government control over their everyday lives is more hysteria and paranoia than facts.

Eddie Griffin

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