A friend's letter on healthcare
I am writing to you today to ask you to support a robust public option as part of the health reform bill. When President Obama made his speech on health care last night, he gave a very good reasoning for why the public option should be included in the plan. Along with this he said that health insurance will be like auto insurance, a mandate. However, as far as auto insurance is concerned, I can choose not to buy a car and choose to ride the bus instead. Please provide me with a bus system instead of forcing me to buy a car.
I simply do not see how mandating health insurance without providing a public option is justifiable at all. It is essentially placing a fine on those of us who cannot afford to purchase health insurance. It is unfair and criminal to do that to anyone. Lower middle income folks will suffer the most without a public option, as they probably won't qualify for the minimal subsidy that is provided; they won't be able to afford health care and so will remain uninsured; and then at tax time they will be penalized for not having insurance. In addition, when they get sick, they will continue to show up at the emergency room and rack up bills they cannot afford to pay, which in turn will continue to contribute to the current problems of high medical costs. In short, this is no solution at all and is making an already bad situation worse. If I had wanted a handout to the insurance companies, I would have voted for the republicans.
I hope that you and your colleagues in the senate will stop this reprehensible bill from passing without a public option. I hope that we can count on you to do the morally right thing.