I emailed Florida’s two senators, Bill Nelson (D) and Mel Martinez (R). I told both that the federal government had no business messing around with health care, and that I wanted them to take the lead in opposing the legislation currently under consideration. Yeah, I know – fat chance.
Today, I received a reply from Senator Martinez. It’s so half-assed and semi-socialist as to be an excellent illustration of why the repiglican party is in so much trouble.
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you and would like to take this opportunity to respond.
There are an estimated 45 million Americans without health insurance – a number that has been consistently rising since 1989. This means that one in seven Americans, and one in five under the age of 65 in Florida, is uninsured. The fact that 15 percent of Americans live without health insurance is a staggering state of affairs, especially since we live in a country that leads the world in advanced medical procedures and technology.
Recent health reform discussions have proposed the idea of creating a new government-run public health insurance plan similar to that of Medicare or Medicaid. Independent studies show that 118 million Americans could lose their current health care coverage, and 130 million Americans could end up on a government run health insurance plan if the government sets payment rates at Medicare rates. This runs counter to the President’s promise of allowing Americans who like their health insurance to keep their current policy. I do not believe the solution to this problem can be found by expanding already overextended government programs. Instead we need to promote real competition among private plans to make them demonstrate effectiveness, and compete on quality and cost. Also, an emphasis needs to be placed on promoting wellness and financial incentives for healthy behaviors such as losing weight, and quitting smoking.
There is broad agreement on both sides of the aisle that our current health care system is in need of reform. We need to take action aimed at making the system more affordable, improving the quality of care, and expanding access to all Americans. Americans want a health care system that supports innovation, puts patients and doctors at the center of health care decisions, and allows patients to choose the healthcare plan that best suits their needs.
Thank you for sharing your thoughtful comments with me. If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact me. For more information about issues and activities important to Florida, I invite you to sign up for my weekly newsletter at http://martinez.senate.gov.
United States Senator
Here’s what to do Mel – change the tax code to allow individuals to take the deductions their employers now get. All people with pre-existing conditions who cannot buy long-term care plans to have Medial IRAs anyway. Force the states to allow price advertising for both prescriptions and physician office visits. Those things will allow the consumer to make intelligent choices and force the health care system to work in the free market.
At least, though, he replied. Nothing yet from Nelson.