Dear Ms. Clarke,
As one of your proudest supporters, you know that I have been loyal to you and your dear mother for many years. You have made your community proud and I am thankful for your careful attention to the issues affecting the people of Flatbush and Central Brooklyn. You can count on my support for your re-election next year. With my vote, my democratic club's votes, our fundraising and organization, we'll stand by you through thick and thin.
This letter is about healthcare and the reasons why I encourage you to vote against the bill moving through the Senate unless the provision for the individual mandate is removed.
I know you're extremely busy right now, so I will try and be brief:
- The bill has an individual mandate. When President Obama first ran for office, he opposed this idea. Now, it is in both the House and Senate bills. But the good thing about the House bill was that there were ways to control premium increases. With the Senate bill, every person in Brooklyn will be required to buy health insurance with no way to control the price increases that will occur year after year. Especially if they have a pre-existing condition. While they wont be denied coverage, the coverage offered will be far outside their means. The subsidy will have little effect.
- The Senate bill has no public option. With the individual mandate in place, the people of our district, many of whom are struggling new arrivals from the islands just like our parents, will be forced to purchase insurance they can't afford. Because the insurance companies will face no competition from an honest plan, there is nothing to stop them from raising prices beyond what the subsidy will cover.
- The Senate bill has no antitrust provision. In most states, although not New York thankfully, health insurance is a near monopoly. There is no regulator to break up this monopoly because the health insurance industry is exempt from antitrust regulation. This is what also allows the industry to engage in some of the worst anti-competitive practices of any industry in America. Again, no competition equals bad for consumers.
- The Senate bill has no free choice provision. This bill leaves in place the employer-based health insurance system and gives most consumers no choice of provider, weakening competition further. Those people and businesses will continue to see premium increases.
- The Senate included the Republican "buy across state lines" provision. This is the worst possible idea in the bill. It will allow the worst possible junk health insurance from an unregulated backwater like Oklahoma to be sold in Brooklyn with no regulation allowed from our State and City authorities. People will see this as attractive in order to avoid being penalized under the mandate. But this insurance will come with extremely high deductibles and no lifetime cap on out of pocket costs. Essentially, people will be paying for insurance that wont be there when they get sick.
These are five reasons why the Senate healthcare bill is a bill that the health insurance industry would have written for itself. It will be bad for consumers, bad for small business, and bad for the people of Brooklyn.
The only circumstance in which you should support this bill is if the individual mandate is removed from the bill. The people of Brooklyn should not be forced to give their hard earned money to the health insurance companies in return for junk insurance.
Thank you for your time and attention.