Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A letter to Roy Blunt on Obamacare: Are you not even listening any more?

(The following is a letter to our senator, Roy Blunt, expressing my concerns about his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.)

Dear Senator Blunt,

I have watched with interest over the past couple of years as you have continued to speak on the Senate floor about the evils of Obamacare.

Each time you share the heartbreaking stories of people whose lives have been damaged by the Affordable Care Act. You speak of premiums that are so high that families are having to choose between health insurance and food.

You speak of high deductibles that families face and how they avoid making vital trips to the hospital because they know they will feel the full brunt of the cost.

You never fail to come up with new stories of businesses that have had to lay off workers because they cannot afford to continue to pay their health insurance benefits.

While I have no doubt you are an honorable man (your supporters always say so during your campaigns), it is hard to believe that every single person you have talked to has been irreparably damaged by Obamacare.

When I have published blog posts about the Affordable Care Act, while I have seen many comments criticizing it, I have seen just as many talk about the positive effects the act has had on their lives.

I certainly don't understand why these people have not been talking to you since your vote on this issue is crucial.

Haven't people told you how important it has been to have pre-existing conditions, some of them leading to catastrophic illnesses, covered. Before that, how many times did we see notices about chili suppers or car washes to help defray medical expenses for someone undergoing cancer treatments? I remember working with other teachers and employees at my school nine years ago to organize a fundraiser for a janitor who was undergoing treatment for cancer. It was successful, bringing in more than $1,000.

Though it helped, that was only a drop in the bucket. And while the janitor's family appreciated the way the community rallied around him, it did little to lessen the worries.

And what about those who have been able to have routine annual checkups, tests, and the kind of maintenance that prevents many illnesses, covered by their plans?

Or those who have been able to keep their children on their plans until age 26?

What about all of the people who have health insurance now who previously would have gone to emergency rooms, increasing the costs for all of us?

Hasn't even one of those people talked to you, Sen. Blunt?

Even more importantly, how about those people whose lives have been saved by the Affordable Care Act?

Haven't even one of those people told you their stories so you could repeat them on the Senate floor?

You have been quick to post your regular Obamacare criticisms on YouTube; couldn't you share even one of the stories of people whose lives have been spared because of this act that you have spent the past seven years criticizing?

I am one of those people.

When I lost my teaching job, in order to maintain health insurance, I had to pay hundreds of dollars of money I didn't have in order to pay for two months of insurance.

After that, I was able to enroll in Obamacare and have my health insurance costs covered for a reasonable amount per month. Because of that coverage, I did not have to go into bankruptcy or depend on the kindness of my friends and neighbors when I underwent triple bypass surgery last year.

More likely, without Obamacare, I would not be here to write these words.

You are an intelligent man, Sen. Blunt. You have to be aware that the Affordable Care Act has saved thousands of lives.

Over the past seven years, all we have heard from you has been "repeal and replace." With so many parts of the Affordable Care Act that are working, why have you never concentrated on fixing the problems with it?

I keep hearing about the rising premiums and the many places where people no longer have a health insurance plan being offered under Obamacare or have only one choice.

Why didn't you work to reduce those premiums?

Why did you not work on plans to reduce pharmaceutical prices?

You claim there would be great savings if we could only sell insurance across state lines. Why didn't you work to make that happen?

Was it easier just to continue railing on the Senate floor about the damage Obamacare was doing and use its problems for political advantage instead of taking steps to reduce the pain that you kept posting on YouTube to stir up the base?

Above all, why did you and your fellow Republicans work to hamstring the Affordable Care Act from the beginning by stirring up a revolution among younger, healthier people by convincing them their rights were being violated by compelling them to buy health insurance? If those people had enrolled, the plan would have paid for itself from the beginning and the premiums would have remained lower.

When you were stirring up the people into thinking that having to buy health insurance was a violation of their constitutional rights, did you ever tell them that the basic construct of Obamacare worked successfully in Massachusetts under your 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney or that various similar versions of the plan have been pushed by your party for the past quarter of a century?

When your wife and all of your children are lobbyists, do you no longer feel the need to listen to what anyone says whose interests don't coincide with the firms that help fatten their paychecks?

I am trying to remember the Roy Blunt I knew a quarter of a century ago when you were secretary of state and running for the Republican nomination for governor. I had a chance to talk with you during a stop at the local radio station in Lamar and asked if you were going to go to a major Republican gathering in Carthage, where I worked as a reporter for the Carthage Press.

You told me you did not plan to go and that did not surprise me. Carthage, after all, was the home of your primary opponent, Attorney General Bill Webster, and the word was out that the event would be more of a pep rally for Webster than a forum for all candidates.

While you were being interviewed on the radio program, I talked with your wife (the one you had then) and your children, Matt, the future governor of Missouri, now a lobbyist, and your daughter, Amy, who is also a lobbyist.

When you finished the radio interview, you told me you had changed your mind and that you would attend the event in Carthage.

It was an act of political courage when you stepped into Memorial Hall at Carthage that evening. The people there were clearly unhappy to see you since you were the person trying to keep their native son from becoming governor and while you did not win their votes during your short talk that night, you did earn their respect.

In a few days, it will have been 25 years since you made that decision and took part in that display of political courage.

I miss that Roy Blunt.

It would take an even bigger act of political courage for you to take a giant step and meet your opposition halfway to make sure that all of your constituents, not just those whose signatures appear on the checks to your campaign account, or those whose opinions coincide with the special interests whose support of you and your family has enabled you to live comfortably at a posh Washington estate, have health insurance.

I hope you have it in you, but I sincerely doubt it.

That was a Roy Blunt of a different time.

That was a Roy Blunt who no longer exists.


Anonymous said...

Remember, no matter party affiliation, there are members of the legislature and Senate, at the federal level, the state level and the local level, that will always vote party.

It is not about what is best for his/her constituents. It's not about common sense. It is about I scratch your back and you scratch mine. Until we get our elected officials to hold town meetings and speak with their constituients, it will always be BUSINESS AS USUAL!!

Concerned citizen said...

Socialized medicine means less quality healthcare for all but the rich,it will take a decade or so to get all the "joys" of single payer care. Too bad the clowns in DC (either party) aren't focused on getting more Doctors,nurses,etc...to fill future needs.All the sob stories in the world won't replace today's professionals.Blunt or Schumer all big time elected elites

Anonymous said...

I have good insurance. Thats because I have been and will continue to be a union member. Too bad the working folks around here have been convinced that unions are bad for you. Good luck with that! PS, one of the plans offered by our choices saw the premiums go down. Buying at bulk rates are always cheaper. Any large group of the same career or those already in an association could accomplish health insurance- Plumbers, real estate agents, gas station owners/employees, grass mowers, etc. I know that will not happen, SW Mo and the like are going to wait for Trump and Mr. Blunt to get them the best health care ever. Good luck with that as well since they are already talking about offering the old, cheap, ineffective plans that they had before.

Anonymous said...

158,wake up your insurance is going to be single payer,your elected hero's won't level with you...vote democrat and enjoy the short term gains long term ugh

Anonymous said...

Luckily my kids and I have the VA to fall back on if there is a problem and, contrary to the political hype, the VA has a good system. I also worked for the Canadian Ministry of Defense for a number of years and have nothing but praise for the Canadian Health Care System. Remember the only reason American politicians demonize that system is because they are bought and paid for by Big Pharma and Big Insurance. Blunt is probably the best politician money can buy.

Concerned citizen said...

338,why do Canadians come to USA for tertiary medical care....

Anonymous said...

Eagle Picher just laid off another 50 people. That makes 250 ever since the workers decertified its union. I wonder how many of them voted for Billy,Blunt, and Trump? I wonder how many may be rethinking the Obamacare option that they will soon need? All that winning must be getting old.

Mo Rage said...

That Senator Blunt and all his Republican partners in Congress would first, be working to undo a healthcare system that has seen more Americans have healthcare insurance than at any other time in our nation's history and then keep fighting to do so, when they keep being shot down and losing. They've been trying to take down Obamacare for at least 7 years yet never really wrote anything to replace it and here we are.

It's stunning, callous, ignorant demagoguing and they're putting their political party ahead of the people and nation, once again.

Mo Rage said...

And to "Concerned Citizen", above, your statement that "Socialized medicine means less quality healthcare for all but the rich" shows you know nothing of health care all across Europe, Canada, the Scandinavian countries and elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

223, I would welcome single payer. in fact, at 65 I will most likely be placed in Med b and my insurance will be a secondary option. Your political comment is very SW MO. You are saying that I will lose my plan, which I wont. A secondary plan will pretty much cover any out of pocket expenses as I age. And you are saying that everyone that doesnt have a private plan will be covered. What is wrong with that? WWJD indeed?!

Anonymous said...

233. please explain how my elected heroes wont level with me. That is a head scratcher. Are you saying that my ideas for unionized or association type group plans are supported by Republicans? Those are Democratic supported theories. "ugh"

Anonymous said...

I have had pretty good insurance my whole adult life, most often employer provided but more recently a private policy that I purchased for my family before Obamacare. My policy is similar to those offered by Obamacare but I do not have to pay extra for essential benefits that I don't need such as maternity care. I am thankful that this policy was grandfathered in and I was able to keep it after Obamacare. Is it affordable? It is $680 per month which is a little more than I paid before I was self-employed. I suppose most people would say not but I made the decision at the time that insurance was a priority for my family and I have budgeted to afford it. I do not have cable, the newest car we have is 8 years old and paid for, and we might eat out once every other week at the most.
I do not want the government involved in my healthcare or insurance (there is a difference) and I absolutely do not want Roy Blunt or any other politician making decisions that tell me what I have to do regarding either one.
For the last year I have had what would be considered a serious pre-existing condition and will have it for the rest of my life. My medicine alone is $6650 per month and is covered. Had I not made the decision to buy my own policy 7 years ago I would probably love Obamacare too. Thankfully I did make that decision and even though I likely could qualify for subsidies under Obamacare I choose not to. Why can't they help the people who want it and need it and leave the rest of us alone?
Sorry for the long post but I am somewhat passionate about this issue!

Anonymous said...

From the Republican point of view, it is cheaper to bury a dead person than to provide medical treatment to a sick person.

Anonymous said...

Local, state and federal government is currently spending more than $11,000 each year per household in the US on healthcare. (Many Americans are covered privately and receive $0 of that so the actual amount paid per household on government assistance is probably quadruple that amount) Are you getting your money's worth with current expenditures? Do we really want to give them more money and programs to squnder and mismanage? The highest amount of medical fraud happens in Medicaid and Medicare payments. The simple solution is to eliminate all insurance other than major medical policies. Eliminate the Charge Master system in hospitals and healthcare systems. Require transparent and up front pricing on all preventive care and minor emergencies. Keep the free clinics and Medicaid for the poor and fully fund Medicare. Workers have paid in to the Medicare system their whole working lives. They should be fully covered period! It's not the elderly's fault the government squandered their contributions made via the Medicare tax on every single one of their paychecks. And for the love of God, start cracking down on the fraud schemes. A small family practice filing multimillions of dollars in claims shouldn't get away with it for years before getting caught.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that you think that the young people who you profess to love and whom you mis-taught until you got caught and cast out ought to pay the medical bills of you old fools who have left them higher taxes and massive student debt. In fact medicine and education are the biggest rackets around today.

Obamacare was made up by the insurance companies to allow them to charge monopoly prices. You want to whine about how your "entitlement" to medical care beyond the ability of the State of Missouri and the federal government to pay knowing that Roy Blunt isn't going to listen to your whines. After all, he can do the math as well and knows that Obamacare is unsustainable. Not to mention unpopular in Missouri. In fact, Obamacare premiums rose by 25-75 percent the week before Election Day everywhere and by 60% in Pennsylvania, where Hillary lost.

Time to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a simple sentence about how those without medical insurance can pay at the Medicare rate and posting of prices are mandated so that the cost of medical attention is reduced by 80 percent.

But you would prefer to poseur-whine to someone who knows that you are a liberal that has never voted Republican. We all know Roy Blunt isn't going to respond to this. Why should he? In fact, whining and virtue-signalling is all you know how to do.