State Senator Steve Martin shows true leadership with this letter to Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb, lets all follow Senator Martin's lead and write our own letters to Warner and Webb encouraging them to vote no on HR 3962
Martin individualized letters to Senators Warner and Webb
Today at 3:35pm
The Honorable Mark R. Warner
459A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Jim Webb
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20501
You have an important vote upcoming on cloture and then possibly passage of HR 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act. Of all the many problems with the bill, only a few seem to be capturing most of the public attention. The four most widely discussed issues are the public option verses a trigger, Medicare expansion, taxpayer financing for abortion and the net affect on the government's budget.
As of the writing of this letter, I understand it all of those things remain in flux. In this letter I prefer to focus on the bottom line of just a couple of these headlining issues.
The reason for the initial proposal was to make quality healthcare more affordable and available to all. Yet, I hear advocates for the proposal speaking of cost only as it relates to the net cost to government. How much more of a deficit you have, after having raised revenues from additional sources, does not represent the total cost of the plan. The cost of the plan includes those new revenues you have to raise and the increased premiums for the consumer plus the total cost of premiums for those forced to purchase the coverage. Please do lose sight of the total cost to individuals and families. Do not be fooled by the notion that a tax, fee or penalty imposed on a successful business spares your less affluent citizens an expense. There is no financial burden that you can place on any business that does not ultimately come to be borne by those that are employed by them, buy their products, use their services or live and/or work in the community where the business' profits are spent and/or invested. These are economic burdens you should not ignore, as our representative.
In reality, there is little difference between a bill that imposes a public option that is available to the public in a few years verses a trigger that imposes a public option if certain targets are not met. With the additional cost burden of providing a new level of mandated minimum benefits, mandated coverage for those who are already ill to be offered and priced within the confines of a community rating system, the targets cannot possibly met. The choice between public option and a trigger is a false choice. It is the equivalent of saying, "You must do as I say" (public option) or "If you do not do as I say I will force you to do as I say" (trigger). What's the difference? The fact remains that the federal government is still forcing its control on 17% of the economy and removing the choice and option of buying something less expensive that may better fit your need. There is no better way to describe the net result of either option than as a government controlled monopoly.
The bottom line is that between the cost to government and its taxpayers and the increased cost to consumers you cannot say that this proposal makes quality healthcare more affordable. As a matter of fact any effort to subdue the cost in a monopolized system would, of necessity, compromise quality or availability. One of the two have to give.
My hope is that your vote would be for liberty and expanded competition and choice for consumers while protecting Virginians from the substantial increased cost of such legislation.
Finally, I ask that you remember that we are a collection of federated states, united together for the protection of liberty and security. The fifty states are not branch offices of the federal government and the U.S. Constitution was written in a manner as to make that clear. It intentionally limited Congress and the Federal Government to its necessary duties. The "commerce clause" and "general welfare" provision do not provide license to ignore the balance of the constitution, specifically the Tenth Amendment.
I understand from personal experience that the tasks of your office are not easy and the responsibility you carry is not light. You have been privileged to gain the trust of Virginians and I ask that you honor that trust by voting "NO" on both cloture and any motion to advance this terribly flawed and harmful bill any further. You are fully aware of the strong opposition to this bill and many of its specific provisions. Accordingly, you would not be honoring their trust by voting "yes" on cloture or passage of HR 3962.
Thank you for your careful consideration.
Stephen H. Martin