16 June 2009

Legislative Conference - Day Two

Washington, D.C. (Liberation City) = Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alliance for Retired Americans - 2009 Legislative Conference - Day Two

The timeline for health care reform is extremely short with an incredibly small window for Americans to make their voices heard in the process. We have maybe a month, certainly no more, in which we can act to influence the contents of the final bill. Hearings will be over and markups starting the week of July 13.

Our health care system is in crises: Costs are out of control and skyrocketing, nearly 50-million Americans (many children) are without coverage, those who have coverage find their premiums increasing three times faster than their salaries, and unpaid medical bills are the leading reason for personal bankruptcy.

This is the time, this is the moment in history that we can change that and wrest control from the insurance oligarchs and pharmaceutical company czars. But it won't happen without your active environment. Tomorrow, I, along with nearly 700 other older Americans will pay lobbying visits to capital hill to voice our concerns and interests to our senators and representatives. This would be a good day to pick up the phone and call YOURS!

I'll not write the script for you, but some key things to mention are:

Shared responsibility. Employers provide health care benefits or else pay into a central pool enabling workers without benefits to get insurance. Think of places such as Wal-Mart. This is commonly called, Pay or Play.

Absolutely no taxation of health care benefits. Health care reform can be paid for by changing things and eliminating waste such a Medicare Advantage programs and by allowing Medicare to bid for lowest drugs prices in the Part D section. Additionally, the wealthiest among us have, for two decades, enjoyed preferential tax breaks and rates...it is now time for them to pony up and shoulder some of the burden with the rest of us.

We must have a Public Plan. It provides true choice and levels the playing field through competition with the private insurance companies who have vested interests in throttling any change.

No one wants to change what works. We know from history that employer based and public programs work. These three crucial components would guarantee true health care reform that insures working families and older Americans will always have high quality health coverage despite what happens to their private coverage. These components provide choice, affordability, and that all of us have access to quality affordable health care.

C'mon, this is something you can do from the comfort of your sofa in your underwear. You don't even need to set down that can of beer. Starting a noon tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17, call your senators and representatives, your local newspaper and TV & Radio stations and tell them, The Time is Now and this is what we want!

No comments: