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In the leadup the the Health Care Reform Bill vote, I called my Congresscritter, Frank Kratovil (D-MD01) numerous times.  I had long conversations with the phone staffers in all of his offices.  But to no avail, Kratovil voted against reform.

I knew my calls alone wouldn't have any effect, but I was hoping if enough of us called, he'd come around.  It didn't work, but maybe if he gets a few letters like the one below, he may think twice when the bill comes out of conference.

All MD-01 Kossacks need to hammer this guy...

It goes like this:

Hi Mr. Kratovil,

  I am a politically-active democrat who canvassed on your behalf during the 2008 election.  I also placed numerous Kratovil signs (although they were repeatedly vandalized) in front of my home.

  I am also a small business owner struggling in a tough economy.  I currently spend approximately $700/mo. on health care insurance for my family of four.  (Five years ago the same coverage was less than $400/mo.  In those 5 years, I've seen the profits of healthcare insurers skyrocketing at the same pace as my premiums.)  For my income level the premium is manageable, but for my staff of lower-middle income technicians, the premiums are out of reach - and so they go uninsured.  

  But they are fortunate, compared to the plight of my neighbor.  He is a laid-off carpenter who makes ends meet by performing small jobs.  His liver is failing (due to a previous bout with Hepatitis) but he gets no medical treatment due to lack of insurance.  Because he has some income, he cannot qualify for MedicAid.  He has a family to support, but will most likely die if he does not get a transplant.  God bless him.

  There are thousands of Marylanders (like me and my neighbor) that feel Americans deserve better than a system motivated by Wall Street profits, rather than the health of its customers.  In this day of small businesses and high employee turnover, the notion of employer-based health insurance seems totally outdated, at best.  It serves the profits of industry well, but is failing many of us.  No wonder every other industrialized western country has adopted nationalized single-payer healthcare.

  The reason I'm writing is to express my disappointment in your vote against the Healthcare Reform bill.  To many of us, it looks like you're willing to side with the health insurance lobby over the interests of your own constituents.  

  You were elected by an extremely small margin.  It was most likely made up of progressive, liberal Obama voters (like myself), rather than republican converts.  We were the ones that were phone banking, working the poll entrances, and replacing Kratovil signs that were vandalized by Harris supporters.
  Now, on perhaps the single most important issue facing our country, you have voted EXACTLY as Andy Harris would have.  (Remind me again why we worked so hard to get you elected.)  Next year you will be up for reelection.  You will be looking for donations, canvassers, poll workers, etc.  Don't even bother asking me - because I will not be supporting you.


If your congresscritter voted against reform, let them know they can't count on you for future support.  It may not be too late for them to come around...

Originally posted to OnStarboardTack on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 04:21 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not really looking for mojo... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, marykk, annominous

    More interested in starting a discussion.  That tip jar thing just popped up...

  •  Be reasonable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OnStarboardTack, marykk

    You live in a heavily Republican district. You have a guy who votes for Pelosi, for the stimulus, for cap-and-trade and against Stupak. Just a few miles away people in a heavily Democratic district get a "moderate" Republican who votes for Boehner, Stupak and against the stimulus and cap-and-trade.
    Pelosi didn't need his vote, so you should give him some slack.

    •  Fair enough... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, annominous, Hopeful Skeptic

      My point to Mr. Kratovil is that the teabaggers will never support him, no matter how much he votes  with them.  It was the progressives who busted ass to get him elected, not the moderates.

      His vote was a big middle finger to the part of his constituency that pushed him over into the "win" column.  He should be made aware that he may lose the voters who worked hardest for him.

    •  No conservadem gets slack on this one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This was a signature dem issue, they weakened it into almost uselessness, then still voted against it.

      I won't be giving my rep my time, my money, or my vote next time around after spitting in my face.

      "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

      by heart of a quince on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 06:08:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        heart of a quince

        They completely undermine the perceived credibility of the issue, under the woefully misguided belief that they will gain votes from conservatives.

        I'm sure this works in some disrticts where the conservative voters are more reasonable, but not ours.

        •  Picking up conservative votes doesn't help (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hopeful Skeptic

          when you alienate the base. Just ask Deeds. Its one thing to hit a few conservative votes now and then on middle ground issues. However, when you piss on the signature bill your party has been fighting for generations to get, you're going to get (and deserve) MAJOR base problems.

          "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

          by heart of a quince on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 06:24:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  My Rep voted against it as well. (3+ / 0-)

    Interestingly enough; his contributions from the Health Industry went up over 100% this year.  Really weird huh?  I'm sure that didn't effect his vote though...His teaparty constituents are happy though...

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 05:03:36 AM PST

  •  Well, it is too late (0+ / 0-)

    since the vote was saturday. I'm going to give my rep (Kosmas) an earful all week. Fake dems like her are ruining the reform with "compromises" and then STILL voting against it.

    "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

    by heart of a quince on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 06:06:41 AM PST

  •  My blue dog voted aye. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I listen to local wingnut rage-ee-o and heard the wingnut threats against her if she voted for it, so I called her office to express my support. I also mentioned that the reason I called was to counteract the threats I heard she was getting from the rage-ee-o crowd. That's the fatal flaw in the wingnut mobilization plan, they have to publicize their moves over their radio stations (and their blogs, lately) and anyone can tune in. Some of them have no idea liberals listen too, and when they find out they are highly resentful. But the radio waves are not a telephone pole the wingnuts can pee all over and mark as their own territory. No, the radio waves are public property.

    Yesterday my blue dog's congressional open mail box had a post in it from a wingnut stating "YOU ARE FIRED, THIS IS YOUR PINK SLIP!". Dramatically trumptacular, yes? I will call her office today and get my thanks on the record.

    The wingnuts around here are trying to recall our blue dog. They narrowly picked up one city council seat last week, out of three they wanted.

    Anyway, who will you support in 2010? If you can't primary your blue dog out, what will you do? You can't vote wingnut (well, I guess you can but I doubt you will) or sit around doing nothing and letting the wingnut win by attrition. Is inept governance by wingnuts preferable to milquetoast representation by bluedogs?

    And in some of these districts, the choice is between blue dog or genuine wingnut. We had border militia member wingnut running against our blue dog, that's why she won in the first place. And she is doing great, considering she has to find a way to represent everyone.

    •  Good on her... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sounds like she made the wise political calculation not to succumb to the teabaggers.

      Kratovil made news last summer when a wingnut hung an effigy of him in front of his office.  I called his office the next day to assure his staff that the wingnut does not represent the views of most of his district.

      Not sure he got the message.

      As for who to vote for:
      I'm hoping for a primary challenger to spring up.  I doubt Kratovil can keep his seat without some base support.  (His election was one of the recounts - with only a margin of several thousand votes.)  Worse case scenario, I'll have crawl back to him like a punished dog...

      •  Have you thought about running yourself? (0+ / 0-)

        Common knowledge says people have to be duked into the local machine to have a chance of winning. One way of getting duked in to the local democratic machine is simply to throw your name into the hat. Stump around your neighborhood, and see what your neighbors really think. Even It is likely you will be stumping your neighborhood anyway, canvassing for whoever does run, so it isn't like your time would be spent any differently. What a lot of insight you'd gain!

        I'm not speaking from personal experience, but have heard stories from others who have tried. These folks routinely criticize pundits like Limbaugh and Hannity by saying "he never even had to run for dog catcher".

  •  I used to live in your district (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And I had a number of pretty respectable correspondences with Wayne Gilchrest.  And while I didn't always agree with him, Wayne took the time to explain his position, and it was usually based on a reasonable set of facts (that I just happened to think had a different solution).

    So, when I saw that Gilchrest was primaried by a right-wing-nut-job thanks to the fringe of his own party, I was happy to see him endorse Kratovil.  It reinforced my good opinion of Gilchrest.

    And even though I'm no longer in that area, I even threw some money at Kratovil... and was thrilled to see him eek out a win.

    I'm tempted to call and ask for my money back after his HCR vote.  

    Since I am a campaign donor, I got this e-mail from him today:

    November 9, 2009

    Dear Friends,

    This past weekend, the House of Representatives voted on comprehensive health care reform legislation. While I share the goals of expanding coverage to the uninsured, increasing access in rural areas, and reducing health care costs, I did not believe that H.R. 3962 offered a fiscally sustainable approach to reforming our ailing health care system. I wanted to share with you an op-ed I wrote that appeared in today's Easton Star-Democrat that discusses the health care reform vote in more depth.

    I remain committed to passing effective, fair, and fiscally sustainable health care reform legislation. While I did not believe that the bill that passed the House on Saturday met this standard, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress in hopes that a better bill can be developed as this process continues to move forward. As always, I am humbled to represent you and your families in Washington, and I value your feedback as the debate continues on this important issue.


    Frank Kratovil

    P.S. In addition to the op-ed below, I encourage you to take a look at these recent editorials from the Washington Post (from November 9, November 7, and October 30) that also capture a number of the concerns I've raised. While I don't agree with every point the Post makes -- for example, I remain opposed to taxing health care benefits -- it is important for us to remember that failing to pass a truly sustainable solution to our health care challenges will limit our ability to eventually reduce the deficit and make progress on many other important issues.
    Policy over Politics
    An Op-Ed by Rep. Frank  Kratovil

    Published in the Easton Star-Democrat, November 9 2009

    The discussion of health care reform has been one of the most partisan and heated public debates our country has seen in years. As a freshman lawmaker, it has certainly been an eye-opening experience. What has struck me the most, however, wasn't the anger and unruliness that grabbed so many headlines during August, but rather the number of people I would encounter who believed that I should commit to voting one way or the other before even knowing what would be included or excluded from the legislation. This was perhaps the only aspect of the health care debate that was truly bipartisan; I heard from many Republicans who demanded that I oppose any health care reform package, regardless of its contents, while some Democrats have told me I had a duty to unquestioningly support the bill simply because it was a priority for my party’s leadership.

    It’s unfortunate that this debate – on one of the most important challenges facing our nation today – has been reduced to such a black-or-white oversimplification. The need for reform is clear: without reform, premiums and out-of-pocket expenses continue to rise rapidly for both middle class families and employers. But the pathway for achieving reform is far more complex. The goals of reform must be two-fold: expanding coverage and reducing long-term costs by significantly slowing the rate of health care inflation. This health care reform debate offers us a historic opportunity, but passing a bill that does not truly achieve these goals would waste this historic moment.

    Since the introduction of H.R. 3200 in July, I have voiced a number of concerns about the legislation. Chief among these were the bill’s failure to curb long-term costs, it’s potential to increase the deficit, and its inadequate protections for small employers, which I fear may have an adverse impact on job creation. Following the August recess, I also led a group of my fellow freshman in sending a letter to House Leadership urging them to include additional reform proposals in this bill, such as allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines and promoting policies to reduce medical errors, lawsuits, and medical malpractice rates.

    While the revised H.R. 3962 made progress toward these goals, I am not convinced that the final bill is a fiscally sustainable approach to reforming health care. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicates that the bill does not reduce long-term health care costs, and that it drastically increases federal health care spending in the near-term and long-term. Furthermore, while the bill is projected to decrease the deficit over the first 10 years, the CBO said this reduction is largely due to the removal of a $210 billion provision to correct the formula by which doctors are paid under Medicare. That "Doc Fix" language was moved into a companion bill, which Congress will consider later this month. Taken together, these bills will increase the deficit substantially in the years ahead.

    To be successful, health care reform must both expand coverage and reduce long-term costs. Unfortunately, this health care reform legislation will significantly increase long-term spending, is unlikely to reduce the deficit, and even costs several hundred billion dollars more than the $900 billion target for which President Obama has advocated. As the debate moves to the Senate, both parties would be well advised to dial back the propaganda, put down the talking points, and focus instead on the substance of legislation before them. I’m hopeful that a better bill is still possible, one that more effectively bends the cost curve while going further to protect small businesses, increase competition, and decrease the deficit. If and when a bill does come back from the Senate, it will be policy, not politics, that will determine my support.

    "My greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. Greatest weakness, it's possible that I'm a little too awesome." -Barack Obama 10/16/08

    by Hopeful Skeptic on Mon Nov 09, 2009 at 11:06:31 PM PST

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