An E-mail from Senator Michael Bennet

Sunday, December 27, 2009 09:16:43
At 12:42 -0500 12/24/09, Senator Bennet wrote:

Dear Friend,

Today I voted for a health care reform bill that will bring meaningful change to Coloradans. Reform that provides coverage to 840,000 uninsured Coloradans, extends and protects Medicare for our seniors and provides free preventive care for everyone. Reform that provides tax cuts to small businesses and eliminates exclusions based on pre-existing conditions. And, as promised, I voted for health care reform that doesn't add a dime to the deficit.

Where are YOUR numbers? Have YOU actually taken pencil to paper to add them yourself? What tax cuts to small business? And just what do you mean by "small business"? Effective taxes on business with more than 20 employees are going up with the requirement that they provide insurance or pay a fine. Really small businesses will lose because they pay personal taxes on their owners' 1040s. In the house bill there will be a surtax; in the senate version owners will get caught by an additional 1.8% medicare tax . What do YOU have to say about the return of the estate tax for small business and farmers?

You would get more folks listening if you would put your own calculations in your letter so it can be clear that you know what you're talking about rather than just quoting your party's gospel. Can you explain just why the Congressional Budget folks are prohibited from asking "what if?" and are limited to the forecasts made by our representatives. What do YOU have to say about the likelihood that the medicare cuts will somehow not be overridden shortly as they have been for the last three years?

This bill will make a substantial difference in the lives of Coloradans who are doing jobs much harder than those in Washington, working late into the night, and taking an extra shift before Christmas so they can afford that extra gift beneath the tree. It is for those Americans who are unemployed in this savage economy and still trying to make sure the kids know they are remembered during this holiday season.

For a bill that takes full effect in 2014, just before the next presidential election, it's pretty ridiculous to talk about Christmas 2009.

For Colorado, this bill will help over 68,000 small businesses provide health care coverage for their employees as they have always tried to do. It makes health care more accessible and more affordable in rural areas by making sure doctors receive a fair rate of return for the quality care they provide. And for the nearly 500,000 seniors in Colorado, it strengthens and protects Medicare while ensuring seniors don't see a single cut to their guaranteed benefits.

Replace "will help" with "will require under penalty of fines collected by the US Internal Revenue Service or jail for tax avoidance". Note also that reduction in compensation for doctors is part of the mechanism for cutting medicare expenses. Please tell us what YOU think after adding up the numbers yourself. Seniors with medicare advantage plans will NOT be allowed to keep them. That is in direct contradiction to a promise made a few months ago. Why don't you tell us YOUR position on that?

I do not support the special deals in this bill. I continue to believe we should include a public option. And I have been disappointed by weeks of delay tactics that have done nothing but expose a broken Washington.

One special deal is the permanent elimination of medicaid costs for the state of Nebraska. What do YOU think about unfunded mandates to the other 49 states and how that process masks the actual cost of the current health bills. Will the relief for folks unable to pay for insurance be delivered that way? The budget office does not consider the cost paid by us less than rich Colorado residents when it reports the cost of the bills to the US treasury.

Please tell us YOUR analysis about just how public insurance companies can ever compete with a government option that has the power to use general revenues and borrowed cash in the process. Note that neither bill specifies an upper limit to insurance premiums. As for that broken Washington, I totally agree. And you're going to vote for a bill prepared by a broken congress?

However, this bill is about the Coloradans and all Americans who just want a decent shot at the American dream. It's about lowering sky-rocketing health care costs and reducing the deficit by nearly $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years. It's about ensuring the strength of Medicare for years to come and bringing much-needed, improved and affordable care to working families.

Do YOU really believe that more of the medicare and social security "lock box" funding will generate a reduction in government debt? History says otherwise in spades. YOU owe us a description, using your own words and numbers, that shows that you have studied the underlying numbers yourself. I thought the American dream had something in it that involves honorable compensation for honorable entrepreneurship.

After decades of trying, we finally passed a bill that saves money, saves lives and gives families a fighting chance against relentless insurance company abuses.

I'll give you the insurance company abuses. They're real. What government could do is to create sample insurance contracts which could , optionally, be used by insurance companies. Those contracts would be analysed by the press and by lawyers. People, and the courts, would thus have a way to understand them and that would provide strong reasons for selecting providers who choose to use the government suggested contracts. Of course you would have to allow purchases that cross state lines. Do YOU think insurance should be limited to companies with a business presence, paying state taxes, in Colorado?

I will continue to push for improvements in this bill as we move toward the conference report and a final bill.

What are the improvements that YOU now think should be pushed? How about offering some of YOUR thoughts here? Yes. The link mentions a few things. A couple of quotes from the "manager's package" would be helpful.

As always, I would love to hear from you. You can send me a message or find contact information at my web site. I encourage you to reach out.

I'm a Wesleyan graduate class of 1956. I'll bet you won't take the time to answer with copies to the original recipients.


Michael F. Bennet
U.S. Senator for Colorado

Your comments are welcome and might appear here depending on how I feel. Send them to Doug McNutt. Include "MFBennet" in the subject line to get by my spam filters.