Response from Senator Murray
Dear Mrs. Kelley: Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for the reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter.
The views of Washingtonians are very important to my work. I will keep your thoughts in mind, and I encourage you to stay in touch. Please do not hesitate to call on me whenever I may be of assistance.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope that you will continue to let me know about this and other matters of interest to you. I hope all is well in Tacoma.
Response from Congressman Norm Dicks
Dear Mrs. Kelley:
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your comments on the health care reform legislation that is currently on the congressional agenda. I appreciated hearing from you and I would like to take this opportunity to respond.
In recent months, I have had the opportunity to listen to the sincere concerns of my constituents at Town Hall Meetings and at other public events in the Sixth District. There was a great mix of ideas and ideologies in attendance at these Town Hall Meetings. While the discussion became contentious at times, I was extremely grateful for the input and ideas of such a broad range of people, many of whom expressed concerns similar to your own. I know there is a great difference of opinions over how to best address the health care crisis facing this country, but I believe there is clear agreement on the need to improve quality, expand coverage, and contain the rising costs of health insurance.
As you know, health insurance costs have placed an increasing strain on American families and businesses, with premiums rising much faster than wages in recent years. In addition, there are more than 46 million Americans who have no health insurance coverage at all, and many more who are losing coverage every day during the current economic crisis. The other discouraging aspect of this problem is the enormous amount of money that is spent on health care in our country - almost twice as much per capita than any other industrialized nation. For all of these reasons, I believe that Congress has both a moral and fiscal obligation to seek ways to reduce costs, eliminate wasteful spending, encourage preventative care and broaden access to health care in the United States. To do nothing would be to ignore our responsibility to future generations.
To date, legislative proposals have been developed by key House and Senate Committees yet no complete version has been presented to the full membership of either house for a vote. While the legislative process continues, I wanted to take this opportunity to re-state my priorities in this important legislative effort.
First, as I stated previously, I believe it is important to preserve what people like about the current insurance system that provides health care benefits to a broad cross-section of Americans: specifically the ability to keep their health plans and their doctors if they choose to do so.
Second, I have been a proponent of health reform that has some type of public option as a way to offer a more comprehensive and competitive plan in the health care marketplace.
Third, I believe we need to resolve the inequities that exist in the current system, including the glaring geographic variation in Medicare reimbursement rates that have disproportionately hurt Washington and a few other states while they have unfairly benefitted a few key larger states. In late July, I worked with a small group of Members of Congress from affected states to develop language that we believe will be included in the final version of the reform bill in the House, stipulating a process for making these reimbursement rates more equitable.
In addition, I cannot imagine that the House would adopt a plan that fails to provide for coverage of the millions of currently uninsured people in this country - including kids-who represent a huge cost to society when they show up in hospital emergency rooms for urgent care that is ultimately much more costly.
At the same time I fully expect that the legislation we ultimately adopt would achieve substantial savings by reducing duplication of efforts, eliminating wasteful expenditures and simplifying paperwork burdens to achieve savings that can be re-directed to productive uses.
As I stated before, this is a serious debate that we are having in our country this year, and it's important that we adopt the right solutions, however long it may take. As the process continues in Congress, I will try to update you on the progress of the reform effort. Once again, I appreciate the helpful comments and suggestions that you and so many others from the 6th District have relayed to me.
Just goes to show you that someone is reading these petitions that they are receiving. Of course she doesn't state her postition, but at least it was received, read and responded too.