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Dear Conservative Democrat XYZ,

I have long shared your fiscally conservative attitudes about deficits and the national debt. In my brief lifetime (not yet 19 years), the debt has risen from $3.2 trillion to nearly $12 trillion. When the government was able to establish a budget surplus by fiscal 1999 after years of careful spending reforms, we saw that surplus rapidly evaporate on the revenue-killing 2001 Bush tax cuts for the wealthy -- some of the most fiscally irresponsible legislation enacted in the last generation -- so that by fiscal 2002, the deficit had returned, and by 2003 had ballooned to levels never before seen.

Also like you, I believe in the power of the free market to solve any number of questions unsuitable for government statutes to address; I too relish the United States' traditional reputation as the only place on Earth where the Horatio Alger dream can still be fully realized.

Now, of course, we all find ourselves in a severe recession confronting daunting and expensive goals of economic recovery, health care reform, and energy independence.

Our shared interest in fiscal responsibility and a strong and stable free market is precisely why I am bewildered at your reticence to support the creation of a public health care option.

Free markets do, after all, thrive on competition; monopolies make them bloated and, if I may devolve into the tautological, not free. The addition of a public option -- supported by President Obama and 76% of Americans -- into the health care marketplace would be a shot in the arm for the free market, injecting real competition into an increasingly oligarchical and inefficient system. Consumers could pick and choose between various plans, exercising the same sort of freedom of choice that they exercise when buying clothes or deciding where to eat.

Just as importantly, the bureaucratic costs created by competition-less and anti-innovation middlemen would be greatly reduced as a necessity to compete with the government's option, eliminating much of the waste that currently inundates the health care system. Not only that, the public option's willingness to provide coverage for anyone who needs it, regardless of preexisting conditions, would soon force the same from private insurers. Once they adjusted to these basic models of fairness and economic competition, HMO's would find an entire new market of 50 million uninsured Americans open to their business. Talk about a boon for the free market!

As a deficit hawk, of course, one must always ask what the cost of such far-ranging and bold legislation would be. The Senate bill's cost cannot yet be estimated, as the Finance Committee there is still discussing revenue mechanisms, but we now have an all but final estimate from the Congressional Budget Office on H.R. 3200, known as the more "liberal" proposal because its public option would be available to any and every American and would offer Medicare-like reimbursement rates. The news is good for fiscal conservatives like you and me: the bill's $1 trillion price tag is more than paid for by its cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and by its small surtaxes on the wealthiest Americans (raising their overall tax rates to roughly their Reagan-era equivalents). In fact, H.R. 3200, opposed by a significant number of fiscally conservative Blue Dogs as being too expensive, would actually cut the deficit by $6 billion, according to CBO analysts.

So what we have here is legislation that would provide coverage options to every American, ensure the affordability of said options, stimulate competition in the free market, lower costs, render discriminatory coverage a thing of the past, and beyond all that, cut the deficit.

If your proud stance as a "fiscal conservative" is mere code for having been swayed by threats and lobbying from HMO's who favor the current monopolistic health care market, that is indeed a shame. But if, like me, you await a plan that makes a difference in the lives of most Americans while promoting our free market ideals and lowering the runaway costs of government deficits, then I am confident you will support H.R. 3200 and the public option.

Thank you so much for reading!

Nathaniel Ament-Stone

Originally posted to Nathaniel Ament-Stone on Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 05:55 AM PDT.


Will the final enacted bill include a public option?

71%23 votes
28%9 votes

| 32 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party is neither pro-republic nor pro-party. Discuss!

    by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 05:55:53 AM PDT

    •  Fantastic. Should Be on Recommended List. (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for such a great piece.

      If Not Us, Who,..... If Not Now, When?

      by VirginiaBlue on Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Single Payer is COMMON SENSE, public option is (0+ / 0-)

        a sketchy solution designed to preserve a system that is killing 101,000 Americans unnecessarily a year.

        They claim that it will be available to everyone who needs it but it clearly is being limited by the so called "firewalls" TO PLEASE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES..

        They claim that the public option will be self sustaining but the reality is that all similar attempts on the state level have lost money - because of adverse selection.

        They claim that everyone who makes more than 4xFPL can afford their new brand of insurance! but that is a bald faced lie.. Its a lie designed to prevent real change

        They want to keep things the way they are but this level of spending is completely unaffordable and unsustainable.

        Our terrible healthcare disaster is killing 101,000 Americans a year.

        •  Comparison between Single Payer and Public Option (0+ / 0-)

          The "Public Option" vs. Single Payer Compared
          Single payer is the real change that they are trying to stop.
           Single-Payer"Public Option"
          Number InsuredUniversal Coverage for All Americans. (Automatic enrollment)Millions could remain uninsured or underinsured because of rules, limitations, missed payments, waiting periods, income too high, lack of affordability or uncovered costs. "Health reform may simply be a mandate to purchase insurance, with few if any changes to make it affordable for all". Public plan if it emerges will almost certainly be unaffordable for- or limited to- some groups, like the uninsured, only. i.e. "level playing field". Health reform may leave out individual coverage reforms, or not allow individuals to join public option plans if their income exceeds a percentage of FPL
          CoverageCoverage for all medically necessary services. Improves quality of care for all Americans, rich and poor by putting patients needs first.Insurers continue to strip-down policies and increase patients' co-payments and deductibles. Drug coverage may be nonexistant or limited to generics or an arbitrary formulary. Government plan, if it survives, may be mandated to only offer insurance comparable in cost and quality to private insurers, not better!
          CostRedirects more than $ 350 billion in administrative waste to care; No net increase in health spending. Incease efficiency by merging Medicare, VA system, all others into new national entity. Drastically reduce billing infrastructure. Could act as stimulus, one study predicts 2.6M new jobs.Already acknowledged to increase health spending more than $ 1 trillion over 10 years. (Or $ 310 / year per person at current population levels.) Weak or no controls on cost increases. Insurance price increases keyed to age will continue to cause layoffs of Americans over 40. Families that miss payments due to uncovered costs will find themselves without coverage. Many formerly middle class families with even one sick member could experience sticker shock as health insurance premiums plus uncovered costs soar to a third, or even half of their income, or more. NO LIMITS on uncovered costs as a percentage of income while "insured".
          SavingsPrevents more than $ 350 billion in administrative waste. Further systemic savings achieved through negotiated fee schedules with physicians, global budgeting of hospitals, bulk purchasing of pharmaceuticals, transparent planning of capital expenditures, etc.Adds further layers of administrative bloat to our health system through the introduction of a regulator / broker 'exchange' to conceal inadequate affordability. Would save 101,000 or more lives currently lost in preventable deaths due to lack of access to needed care (compared to other industrialized nations.) Reductions in stress would improve health of Americans, reduce learning disabilities, and senior dementia, and reduce obesity.
          SustainabilityLarge scale cost controls (global budgeting, capital planning, etc.) ensure that benefits are sustainable over the long term. Proven track record on long-term cost reduction in many other nations around the globe.Uncontrolled costs ensure that any gains in coverage are quickly erased during economic slumps as government is forced to hike premiums or slash benefits. Like state high risk pools, high suceptibility to adverse selection will result in a sicker risk pool. Public option's lack of cost control means that it will be much more expensive. To saddle the public option with a "self sustaining" requirement will result in a death spiral.

  •  WE are the change WE voted for in November (0+ / 0-)

    As a former health care giver, I am shocked and saddened to see what has become of health care in America. $ 1. 4 million is being spent per day in DC by the health care lobbyists so your elected representative is getting taken care of and has quality health care we pay for and can't afford ourselves for our families, I know what is deemed, defended and supported in Tennessee and Virginia as quality health care and clearly profit care comes ahead of patient care. MRSA ( methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureas ) is infesting our communities because filthy, uncaring hospitals and emergency rooms are breeding them and spreading them into our schools, homes, restaurants. How many more Americans' will be diseased or die while 74 % of Americans' are begging for health care reform ? More people died in America last year from MRSA complications than AIDS. When MRSA and a flu bug start mixing, it won't be pretty and we are being infected by the very health care system we depend on and trust to keep us safe and healthy. If we had "the best health care" in the world then why does RAM ( Remote Area Medical ) come to Wise County, Virginia year after year so people can go to the fairgrounds and stand in a line like cattle in the hot July sun just to see a health care provider ??? America's health care system is a disgraceful sham !

    There will only be change when those unaffected are as outraged as those who are.

    by quidam56 on Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 06:27:49 AM PDT

  •  I hope you aren't (0+ / 0-)

    relying on this rec list diary for this info:

    In fact, H.R. 3200, opposed by a significant number of fiscally conservative Blue Dogs as being too expensive, would actually cut the deficit by $6 billion, according to CBO analysts.

    Because apparently the press release it references is nonexistent, and the .pdf it links doesn't say what they claim it says.

    Just so you know...

    "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

    by happy camper on Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 06:55:00 AM PDT

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