The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Letter To My Representative

After watching the health care debate unfold, I decided it was time to send a respectful e-mail to my Congressman, Ron Klein (D-FL, 22nd district). Here's what I wrote:
I am writing to express my concern about health care legislation that is being developed by the Congress and supported by the President.

It appears that the claims being made by both sides are overblown. On balance, however, supporters seem to be overselling weak, poorly constructed legislation.

The promises of "cost savings" associated with current health care legislation strain credulity. The CBO indicates that current legislation will cost over $1 trillion dollars over 10 years. Where will this money come from?

Recent scientific studies of preventive care indicate that it represents a net cost, NOT a net cost saving. So preventive care (a worthwhile goal, no doubt) cannot defray cost. It actually increases cost. (source: New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal "Circulation")

The President argues that eliminating fraud and abuse will defray 2/3rds of the cost. Yet government efforts to eliminate fraud and waste in other programs have been woeful failures. Why should we believe that you'll magically succeed in this case?

As an aside: Why not spend a few years eliminating "fraud and abuse" in the government run Medicare/Medicaid system. If costs are reduced by 2/3rds (heck, if they're reduced by 20 percent!), I’ll be in line to support whatever health care legislation is proposed in 2012, but only after you've demonstrated competence in controlling ballooning costs in an already existing government health program.

House leaders talk incessantly about "reform" and why its a good thing. If that were the case, why is there no mention of tort reform in current legislation? By current estimates, the cost of medical malpractice litigation and the defensive medicine that it precipitates is between $200 - $400 billion. How could it not be part of a reform package?

In addition, no one has done a detailed risk analysis to determine whether proposed changes will have an negative impact. I'm sure you'll agree that something as profound a major health care legislation will have unintended consequences. What might they be? No one in congress has considered the issue, much less discussed it.

Bottom line -- many of your constituents will be watching you and your colleagues in the fall. If the House and the Senate act irresponsibly, if they pass bills that will burden our children and grandchildren will increased debt, if they raise taxes on the middle class after promising not to do so, if they implement a program that leads to serious and negative unintended consequences, they will be held accountable.