Last week I travelled to Washington, DC to meet with the Representatives from our area as part of a group of Independent Insurance Agents. Health care was our #1 topic to discuss, which was certainly a timely issue. DC last week was completely engulfed in the health care debate. It seemed like every cab driver knew the details, and had an opinion about, the health care bill.
I met with staffers from the offices of McClintock, Matsui, Lungren and my own Rep. Mike Thompson. My goal was to tell each of these offices that while health care needs a lot of fixes, but there are 2 big problems with the bill proposed: 1- taxes on employers who are not buying group health insurance and 2- the creation of the “exchanges”.
I know and work with lots of employers. Believe me, if they could all provide health insurance to their employees they would. So if they’re not, they certainly can’t afford a tax penalty, either. It’s just bad for business. And the “exchanges”; well, since not a single person in either Party can explain what they actually are, other than rhetorical BS about “creating competition”, I am opposed. Seriously, create a new appointed body who will then later create the exchanges and decide how they work? Talk about a creative way for some Congress-folks to claim a victory and then dodge the fallout from this body’s actions. Let’s shed some daylight on what they are, and then talk about its merits.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
Well, we met with the staffers (Mr. McClintock met with us, but Mr. Thompson was too busy to say hello to a constituent who flew to DC from Davis, CA – grrrrr). And at this point in history, it isn’t about healthcare anymore. We suggested that both sides could claim a victory if they just fixed the $50B in annual Medicare fraud, but even that was met with “well, if we just do that, then we’d have to concede XYZ to the other side, and that won’t work”. Serious? Both sides can’t agree that FRAUD is bad? Who are we afraid to offend, the crooks? But that’s not the problem. The problem is that there is so much Political capital invested in the current bill that it’s going to get a vote, and the debate over what it ought to look like has been over for a long time. Team A beating Team B is the essence of the health care debate today, sorry folks.
In the disdainful words of one Congressional aide, “We always know when an email has gone out or a talk show host has said something, because we get 50 calls all saying the same thing. But, we also realize that 50 people took time to pick up the phone and call.” So for what its worth – call! They don’t want to hear it, but our elected officials in both parties and both houses need to know what we think about the bills they vote on. If we don’t tell them, then we can’t complain about the junk they turn out.
Purves Insurance is located in Davis, CA and thinks that everyone needs to express their voice.