This is a place where all of us can post thoughts, ideas, suggestions and more. Something like a Letters to the Editor page which could include, but is certainly not limited to:
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Comment: representative Derek Kilmer recently responded to the question of why he is NOT in support of single payer, Medicare for All.
What follows is Derek Kilmer’s letter and then my response to his letter, both very long winded, but I hope you will take a look:
Thank you for contacting me about single-payer healthcare. I appreciate you taking the time to reach out.
Too often, the discussions regarding the healthcare are portrayed as distant policy conversations in Washington, D.C. The reality, however, is that these issues have real consequences for folks in our neck of the woods. This is about people.
Following Senator Sanders’ introduction of universal Medicare legislation in the Senate, I wanted to take a moment to reiterate my position on our health care system. I believe that the government has a responsibility to ensure every American can have affordable, comprehensive health care. It is clear that we are not meeting that goal today. The question is: how do we get there?
The premise of this bill is one that everyone can embrace – let’s get people coverage! I want us to aspire to be a nation where health care isn’t just a privilege for the wealthy but, rather, a right for all Americans. I support universal coverage.
I generally believe that well-regulated private markets work well at delivering good, low cost options to consumers. That’s true for everything from toothpaste to automobiles. But when those on the right argue a purely free market approach to health care, they ignore fundamental realities about how health care is different than other products. For example, if insurance companies are failing to offer insurance plans at a reasonable price – or, in some regions,at all – that’s a market failure. As a result, government must play a larger role in making sure all Americans have access to quality, affordable care.
If we were starting from scratch, then a single-payer health care system might make a lot of sense. It would move us more quickly toward universality and could remove some of the duplicative administrative costs from the system. The challenge in our country is that we are not starting from scratch. Roughly 156 million Americans already receive health care through their employer and a majority of those folks are happy with their coverage. I believe that, before we propose to take away existing coverage from millions of Americans, we have a responsibility to answer some basic questions. Questions like:
Will their coverage and benefits be better and cost patients less?
How will hospitals and doctors be incorporated into this new system?
Will reimbursement be adequate to ensure that rural health care providers can keep the lights on?
Will folks who want more coverage be able to purchase supplemental private insurance plans?
Does the plan help lower our overall health care expenses?
And, perhaps most importantly, how will all of this be paid for?
I’m glad that Senator Senators is contributing to our nation’s health care debate, but there are too many unanswered questions for me to be able to sponsor his legislation at this time.
Rather, the approach that I support today is to try to protect the gains made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to make those gains permanent, and to build on those gains. The ACA provided 20 million more Americans with quality, affordable health care, made every American’s health care coverage more comprehensive, and reduced the federal deficit through lower health care spending.
As Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman points out, there is more than one way to get to universal coverage. He points out, for example, that the Dutch system is one of the best in the world, with affordable, universal coverage. He refers to that system as “Obamacare done right.”
So, how can we build on the progress of the ACA and ensure it is “done right?”
One of the ways I would improve it is by introducing more competition into the exchange marketplaces through the creation of a public option. While there are a variety of directions that Congress could take for a public option, they generally involve a federal health care plan – like Medicare – that individuals and small businesses would be able to buy. This would create more competition for private insurance companies to drive down costs and would provide an option in areas where private insurers had left the market.
In the greatest country in the world, you shouldn’t go broke if you get sick. We have a responsibility to the American people to improve our health care system. I believe we can do that by making the system we have now better, while continuing to have conversations and debate about what a better system would look like and how we get there. I hope you’ll continue to be part of that conversation, and will continue to share your thoughts on this issue with me.
Member of Congress
my letter back to congressman Kilmer:
(Don is editing this for re-posting)
Comment: Washington State has another chance at enacting a tax on CO2 with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean energy. Hopefully all environmental and political groups will work together to get this new legislation on the ballot and passed in November 2018. A tax on CO2 is an effective way of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels. The Alliance has worked hard to make this an equitable approach. Please join me by becoming a Climate Steward: http://jobscleanenergywa.com/
(This is the unedited version of Don Simon’s Letter to the Editor, published in the Kitsap Sun February 20, 2017)
If you would like to see what courage looks like and if you are in the least bit concerned about how you are being represented in Washington, D.C. please plan to attend the Town Hall meeting at the Admiral Theater in Bremerton this coming Wednesday evening at 5:30 pm where you will have the rare opportunity to meet with your congressman Derek Kilmer, who, unlike those who are now hiding from their constituents, will be speaking to you directly about the issues you want answered.
Representative Derek Kilmer, who took over for our beloved congressman Norm Dicks, is one of the most intelligent, dynamic and ambitious representatives in Washington DC.; a young man dedicated to his job and to the State of Washington. It’s all on the internet and I encourage everyone to look it up.
Whether or not you agree with everything this young man has done, or the troubles his Democratic Party is finding itself in today, you must admit that in today’s political climate, any representative willing to meet with We the People is a very brave individual indeed.
So, We the People should, at the very least, provide him the common decency of showing our concern, our patriotism, our willingness to participate in democracy and our acknowledgment of his courage by filling the Admiral Theater at 515 Pacific Ave, Bremerton, this coming Wednesday at 5:30 pm, to it’s utmost capacity.
“Democracy is not a spectator sport – get out and get active”