I received a letter in today’s mail from Congressman Ike Skelton (D) in response to my constituent communication urging him to support the public option:
4th District, Missouri
Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-2504
August 18, 2009
….Thank you for contacting me regarding health care in the United States. I appreciate hearing from you.
Three committees in the House of Representatives and two committees in the Senate are working on bills to reform the nation’s health insurance system. The main proposal being considered in the House is H.R. 3200, known as the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. It has been approved at the committee level but is not yet in its final form.
Reducing health care costs and expanding health coverage to those who do not currently have it are bipartisan objectives in Congress and throughout the United States. But, as Congress works to address these issues, it must write the most thoughtful bill possible.
Health insurance reform must be thoroughly reviewed and ideas must be debated in the House and the Senate so that a final bill will be the right plan for the American people.
Right now, I am reviewing the health proposals that passed out of House committees and listening to Fourth District residents who have a variety of opinions on the health care issue.
So that you know about the legislation being drafted in the House, let me share some basic information about it with you. The current House proposal would create a health insurance exchange – or menu – where individuals who do not currently receive health insurance through their employer or through a government program, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or TRICARE, could choose a health insurance provider.
Insurers participating in the exchange would be required to offer a standard set of benefits, would be prohibited from varying the cost of their plans based on a pre-existing condition, work environment, or gender, and would not be allowed to drop plan participants. It would make modifications to how health care providers are reimbursed through Medicare.
And, while the current House proposal would create a public health insurance plan option within the exchange, it would not create a national, single-payer health care system similar to Canada or European nations.
In recent weeks, I have heard rumors that legislation moving through the House of Representatives would deny elderly or disabled persons health care based on decisions by so-called “death panels” and that the proposal would allow for federal funding of abortion. After learning of these allegations, I did my homework and discovered that they are not true. As a pro-life Congressman and an elder in the First Christian Church, I would never consider supporting legislation that contains those types of provisions.
I encourage you to study health reform proposals pending in Congress, as I am doing. For more information, you may visit the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s website at http://www.energycommerce.house.gov or the House Ways and Means Committee’s website at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov. In the Senate, you may visit the Senate Finance Committee’s website at http://www.finance.senate.gov or the Senate HELP Committee’s website at http://www.help.senate.gov.
Again, I will continue to review health insurance reform proposals and appreciate hearing the views of Fourth District residents during this important debate. With kindest regards, I remain
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress
Interesting. Of course he knows that the right wingnut cable network screamer “death panel” meme is a pile of manure. Notice that the public option is described in rational terms? That’s Ike Skelton.