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Are conservative Christian theology and liberal politics compatible?
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Letter to my Republican U.S. Senators about the reasons for national health care

Here is a copy of a letter I sent to my two Republican U.S. Senators recently, explaining as fully as I could the reasons national health care is necessary:


 For years, I was a mostly pretty conservative Republican.  I was a
Republican precinct committeeman for 10 years. I'm still committed to the
pro-life position and conservative on many social issues.

But I've come to the conclusion that national health care is the only
workable solution that doesn't leave a lot of working people completely
out of the health care system and many of the others (and their employers) paying extortionate rates for shrinking coverage.

I have a pretty good job.  I'm paid $50,000 per year.  But my employer is
a small law firm--three employees with five lay staff (I'm a paralegal). 
Some of the employees or their family members have common chronic diseases (I'm one of those).  As of the rate increase last October, my employers pay more than $500 for my individual coverage.  I pay $907 per month to  cover my family.  And our Blue Cross plan doesn't pay a cent until we meet $2,500 per person/ $5,000 for all of us annual deductible. 

The cost of providing insurance for employees is a major strain on my
employers, who discuss it frequently.   Then again, my premiums plus my
deductible consume 54% (you read that right!) of my annual after-tax
income.  And you wonder why people aren't spending money and creating
jobs?   We need to get the burden of healthcare off of the backs of
business--without putting it squarely on the backs of ordinary people who
are unable to bear it.  (That was the problem with the McCain health
plan--it would have moved the cost off of business and mostly onto older
and sicker workers.)

All of the information I've seen on the subject indicates that something
in excess of 35% or 40% of health insurance premiums paid go to overhead costs--people whose jobs are to collect premiums, file claims, process claims or deny claims.  Great savings could be achieved here.

Finally, I note that health care on an insurance model is fundamentally
incompatible with the preventive health emphasis we will need to improve
the nation's health AND to achieve cost containment.  Insurance, by its
nature, only pays for "loss" events AFTER a loss has occurred, and expects
insureds to pay for any needed loss prevention activities themselves. 
This approach may work fine for commercial insurance, but works very badly  for health coverage.  Why?  First, because the majority of the people in the system can't afford to pay for much in the way of loss prevention
after paying their premiums and deductibles.  Second, becuase the most
effective loss prevention strategies are population-wide strategies. 

So, for all of the above reasons, I support S.4 (which I understand is
just a "sense of Congress" resolution) and H.R. 676.


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 8:28 PM EST

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