My reply to Rep. Niki Tsongas via email

Dear Representative Tsongas:

Thank you for replying to my request asking you not to support the Health Care Government Takeover (Reform).  Your email back to me was quite lengthy, and covered ever talking point that the both the House and Senate Leaders have been stating over and over.  My response to you will not be as long, but should not be considered to be any less meaningful or passionate.

It is been said that actions speak louder than words.  Given this analogy, let’s take a look at some recent actions:

– The House is looking at every method possible to pass this bill without taking an actual vote.

– You and your colleagues will not be using the same health care plan you are forcing on us.

– Recent examples of Government run programs for saving money and efficiency; the present socialized health care (Medicare) and the Post Office.

You however have your mind set, and it would be “trivial” to listen to those you actually work fork for.

I will leave you with a quote.  You probably will not recognize it, as it is actually found in a document that many of the Elected Officials would consider to be “immaterial”.  However, I will do all I can to ensure that you have plenty of time to read it after November, ensuring you are a “one termer”:

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

It is my right.

It is my duty.

Sincerely,

Tim x

American

On Monday, March 15, 2010, at 06:17PM, “Representative Niki Tsongas” (ma05ima@mail.house.gov) wrote:

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Dear xxx:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding health care reform.  I appreciate your views and having the benefit of your opinion.

I understand your concerns and am grateful that you took the time to express them tome.  As you may know, I voted in favor of the Affordable Healthcare for America Acton November 7, 2009, because I believe that health care reform is central to our economic recoveryand the cost of doing nothing is simply too great.  

Without reform, the cost of health care for the average American family is expected to increase by $1,800 every year with no end in sight. Rising health insurance premiums, which have doubled in 9 years,will prevent more and more small businesses from expanding and hiring workers, costing the American people jobs and livelihoods.   At the current rate, health care costs will eat up more and more wages, making it even more difficult for hard-working, middle class families to save enough for retirement and the higher education of their children.  I voted for this important legislation because I believe that reforming our broken health care systemis absolutely critical to our collective financial security and our future.

We have beenlucky in Massachusetts to have implementeda systemvery similar to what has been proposed at the national level.  The Massachusetts reforms haveworked and enjoybroad public support. However, our system is still burdened by high costs and high premiums.  The bottom line is,if we want to see the cost of health care go down in Massachusetts, then we need to make sure everyone in this country has access to insurance – because emergency care for uninsured Americans in Idaho or Michigan is subsidized care that Massachusetts taxpayers are paying for.

National health reform attempts to take the best of what we have done in Massachusetts, whilelearning from it at the same time. The Commonwealth hasexpanded health insurance to over 97% of itsresidents by using a partnership between the public and private sector.  We have held our insurance companies accountable and forced them to compete with each other on a level playing field to offer affordable, comprehensive benefit packages.  ButMassachusetts has always had some of the highest premiums in the country because of the cutting edge research that takes place in some of our hospitals.  Without reform on a national scale, one that tackles growing costs in Medicare, a fee-for-service system that incentivizes doctors to over-test and over-treat patients, the obesity epidemic and a staggering rate of uninsured Americans who are placing a heavy burden on our hospitals, we will not be able to get a hold of the growing cost of health care in our own state.

The Affordable Health Care for America Act requiresinsurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms, colonoscopies, and routine vaccinations.  This ensures that fewer people rely on expensive emergency room care for potentially preventable illnesses, which creates costs that are borne by everyone.  It also incentivizes employers to invest in wellness programsto fight obesity and heart disease. Obesity will cost the nation about $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018, eating up about 21% of health-care spending, if we don’t get it under control.

It enables the creation of organizations that allow hospitals and doctors to work together to manage and coordinate care in order to avoid duplicating tests and treatments, and allows doctors in the organization to get paid a salary rather than a fee for each service so that they don’t have a financial incentive to rack up a patient’s medical bills. It eliminates wasteful overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans, in which private insurers get paid up to 14% more than traditional Medicare.  These overpayments go straight to profits, not better care for seniors.  It also improves the traditional Medicare program by requiring that primary and preventive care is free, and that drugs are fully covered.  This will save our country billions of dollars in the face of a soaring deficit.

It invests heavily in our primary care and nursing workforceto ensure that there are enough doctors and nurses to care for the millions of newlyinsured who will be using the health care system.  This issomething that Massachusetts reform did not includeand that our state will benefit from greatly.  

It provides people with financial help to buy an insurance plan of their choosing, something that we already do through the Massachusetts Connector.  By providing this assistance, the Commonwealth will be relieved of some of the financial burden it has taken on byproviding these subsidies.

Additionally, seniors will see their prescription drug costs go down.  The approximately 6 million seniors, 7,400 of whom live in the Fifth District, who currently fall into the Medicare “donut hole”, the gap in which prescription drugs are not covered, will see that gap in coverage completely closed over time, saving them thousands of dollars.

The Affordable Healthcare for America Act takes significant steps towards covering all Americans, while enabling anyone happy with their current plan to keep it, facts which have earned it the endorsement of the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, the AARP, and many other leading health care provider and patient advocacy groups.

Finally, this bill is fully paid for, not adding a dime to our deficits now or in the future. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill will reduce our nation’s growing deficit over ten years by $104 billion.

Thank you again for taking the time to be in touch, and I hope this letter has addressedsome of your concernsabout health care reform. Please do not hesitate to contact my office in the future with questions or concerns.  If you would like to see what I’ve been doing in Washington DC, or to get my views on a certain issue, please visit my website at http://tsongas.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Niki Tsongas

Member of Congress  

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