Claire McCaskill’s E-Newsletter on Health Care

Posted: October 12, 2009 in Senator Claire McCaskill
Tags: , , , , , ,

I find it funny that many of my elected representatives find the time to write newsletters on a weekly or bi-weekly basis but yet Sen. McCaskill writes only once in a while. You would think with a staff as large as hers they could get a newsletter out more than every now and then. Below is a recent correspondence from Sen. McCaskill about health care. Interspersed are thought provoking comments from ClayCoMOPolitics in bold. Ms. McCaskill has asked that we tell her our priorities. I say go for it! The link is included in her letter. Below her letter is the letter that I received from Ms. McCaskill’s office after I shared my priorities.

Ms. McCaskill’s Letter:

Dear Friend, 

Tensions are running high in Washington as the debate rages over health insurance reform. 

And I get it.  Health care is such a personal issue.  Access to good quality, affordable care – or the lack of it – can change your life. 

So we can’t get swept up in the negativity that Washington interest groups specialize in or close our minds based on fear and misinformation, or draw imaginary lines in the sand.  We’ve got to keep our heads. (ClayCoMOPoliticss translation: In other words, you are not really mad, you can’t think on your own, and the only reason you are mad is because special interest groups have “lied” to you and made you mad. Sorry Ms. McCaskill, the number one interest group that has gotten main stream America mad is the DNC. The reason we are mad is because you are simply not listening to us!)

I owe it to you, my bosses in Missouri, to tell you where I’m at in this debate.  Here are my top priorities for healthcare: 

Provide you more choices (ClayCoMOPolitics comment: Not really, considering you do not support breaking down interstate trade barriers for us to purchase health insurance in another state. That would be more choices and would bring down health care costs.)

Bring down health care costs (read more) (See above comment.)

Deliver better outcomes for patients 

Make sure it doesn’t add to our debt 

I invite you to send me your priorities for insurance reform. 

I’m representing Missouri the best way I know how – by looking at each issue on its merits and coming to an independent decision. (ClayCoMOPolitics comment: If that’s the case, I’m really concerned. You voted for two bailouts, consistently vote for massive government spending, had no comment on Van Jones, have no concern about the FCC Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd, voted for Cass Sunstein, and have been pretty friendly with ACORN in the past.)  But I’m convinced, now more than ever, that we must get a bill because the price of doing nothing is way too high. 

None of the bills proposed have been perfect, and they’re all likely to change significantly before the end. 

And with so many proposals now up for discussion, we have to remember there is so much agreement on most of the reforms we’re considering. Finding agreement on everything won’t happen, but I’m optimistic we will make a meaningful difference in healthcare and health insurance reform this year. 

Tell me your thoughts on healthcare now. 

I give you my word that I’ll keep fighting for what I think is right, and for Missourians like you. (ClayCoMOPolitics comment: That’s a really odd statement. “Fighting for what I think is right.” Above, I thought you said we were your boss. Ms. McCaskill you have been on record in supporting a public option, over 50% of America does not support a public option. Though I haven’t seen any polls I suspect that the numbers are similar in Missouri. Start fighting for what America and Missouri wants!)

All best, 

Senator Claire McCaskill

Here is the response that I got from Ms. McCaskill’s office. I sent a very brief comment just simply stating that there should be no public option and to reduce interstate trade barriers on health care.

Dear Mr. Palmer,

Thank you for contacting me regarding our health care system. I appreciate your comments and welcome the opportunity to respond.

There is no denying that our health care system is in dire need of reform.  The soaring cost of medical care is crippling our economy, bankrupting our nation’s families, and becoming an unsustainable financial burden for American employers.  In the last eight years, health care premiums have grown four times faster than wages, and there are nearly 46 million uninsured Americans – the majority of whom are employed. (ClayCoMOPolitics comment: Ummm…. I thought the President said it was 30 million, does this mean you are counting the undocumented migrant population. That’s the only way you arrive at this statistic. Better get your facts straight.) It’s tragic that in a country of great wealth like ours so many of our fellow Americans don’t have access to care; and that the uninsured are suffering from avoidable illnesses and receiving expensive medical care too late, the cost of which gets passed onto the rest of us.

I am pleased to see my colleagues on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee and on the Finance Committee leading the health reform effort in the Senate.  There are still many tough issues to resolve in the health care debate, including insurance coverage mandates, whether a public program will compete with private insurers, and how to pay for it.  I welcomed the President’s speech to Congress which outlined his view of how Congress should resolve the health care reform debate and offered room for compromise and pragmatism.  While Congressional committees continue to craft various versions of health care reform bills, the highest priorities for Congress and health industry leaders remain protecting patient choice of care, curbing skyrocketing health costs (ClayCoMoPolitics comment: Number 1 driver of cost in our system is Medicare but you can’t even acknowledge it?), and expanding coverage for the uninsured.

Although I am hopeful that significant reform will be enacted by the end of this year, you should know that Congress has already passed several measures that have improved access to care for children and struggling families.  In January, I voted for Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2), which will provide 4.1 million additional low-income children with quality health care coverage.  I was also pleased that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enacted in February, included extended unemployment health benefits coverage as well as funds for cost saving health care initiatives like health information technology.

Although there is not a final version of the health reform bill in the Senate or House, I understand that there has been a lot of confusion and misinformation, and, yes, some fear and anger, as well, surrounding certain proposals for reform.  You may be interested to know the Special Committee on Aging, of which I am a member, has prepared a document entitled “Health Care Reform, Fact vs. Fiction”. I would encourage you to visit the website http://www.aging.senate.gov/issues/healthcare/factvsfiction.pdf to gather factual information regarding some of these rumors.  If you are interested in reading the House and Senate bills, you can find the most updated versions of the legislation by visiting http://www.help.senate.gov and http://www.energycommerce.house.gov.

Addressing our nation’s health care crisis will be no small feat for Congress; but it will only get worse the longer we ignore it.  Our nation’s long term financial health requires a balance between family coverage needs and viable financing from businesses and the government.  The current tenuous situation necessitates action on healthcare reform now.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to find a fiscally responsible solution for the health of Americans and our nation’s economy, and I am hopeful that we will have significant reform enacted by the end of this year.

Sincerely, 

Claire McCaskill

United States Senator 

P.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at www.mccaskill.senate.gov.

Ms. McCaskill I enjoyed the form letter! Thanks for not addressing either of my points! I know you get a large volume of mail but you would think that if you truly wanted to work in a bipartisan way you might have a form letter that addresses my concerns at least. No mention of breaking down interstate trade in Congress and you really didn’t address the issue of a public option. Ms. McCaskill there is a lot of us looking for straight talk and we are not getting it from you.

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