Monday, August 24, 2009

Congressman Harry Mitchell on the healthcare debate

This piece was originally published in the Arizona Republic on Saturday. It is also on the Congressman's House website.

This is from an email sent out by Representative Mitchell and his campaign today.

From the email -

Aura of respect needed in health-care discussion
By Harry Mitchell - Aug. 22, 2009
Special for The Arizona Republic

With an issue as vitally important as health care, it's understandable that the debate would evoke impassioned responses from across the political spectrum. If we all tone down the rhetoric, and really listen to each other, I think we'd be surprised about how much agreement there actually is.

Most notably, most agree we're facing a serious problem.

Rising health-care costs are hurting families - even those with insurance. Insurance premiums are rising due, in part, to the costs associated with millions of Americans who lack coverage. When the uninsured end up in emergency rooms, hospitals are forced to charge more to those of us who have insurance to help pay for it. The average American family is paying an extra $1,100 in premiums a year to pay for the shifted cost.

Rising health-care costs are hurting businesses - even those that provide insurance. The strain is especially severe on small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. Since 2000, health-insurance premiums for small businesses have risen 130 percent. This is particularly worrisome in Arizona, since 73 percent of our businesses are small businesses.

Employees also are at risk - even those with insurance. If they lose their job, or need to change jobs, it's difficult for them to keep their insurance, or obtain new coverage because insurers can currently deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. A number of Democrats and Republicans have called for an end to this practice, including me.

Another concept that has drawn bipartisan support is the establishment of a health-insurance exchange, in which individuals and small businesses can combine or "pool" their purchasing power and comparison-shop for competitive rates that best meet their needs.

The risk pool would be spread across a wider scale, which would require insurers to compete and lower costs to gain business. I believe this makes sense. It's similar to the type of system used for members of Congress and federal employees, and if it has worked and can be expanded, others should be allowed access.

Finally, there are many Democrats who agree with Republicans that the federal government should not take over the entire health-insurance system. I'm one of them. If you like your current insurance, you should be able to keep it. Reform should provide more choice, not less.

There is common ground here upon which we can build. In my experience, that's the best place for discussion to start.

I have no illusion, as the debate continues, that we will hear more and more about areas of disagreement. This is an issue that is intensely personal and affects us all - even those with whom we may disagree. However, I implore everyone, on all sides of the debate, to remember that ultimately everyone is aiming for the same thing: the best, most affordable health care for us and our loved ones. So let's engage respectfully, and see if we can work together to achieve it.

And as with anything that comes out of Washington, I encourage you to verify information that's being circulated and visit my Web site, mitchell.house.gov, for information.
Reminder: Congressman Mitchell is holding a "Telephone Town Hall" on Wednesday evening. Interested CD5'ers can sign up here.

4 comments:

KTRADER said...

Tomorrow you will as Dems will be off another 2 trillion ON THE DEFICIT--SOLVE THE DEFICIT FIRST! MITCHELL HAVE YOU NOT SEEN OR BEEN AWARE OF THE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE PROTESTING OUTSIDE YOUR OFFICE MULTIPLE TIMES AGAINST THIS OBAMA HEALTH CARE BILL? YOU HAVE NO ANSWERS THAT IS WHY YOU WILL NOT FACE US IN PERSON YOU COWARD. LET ME GIVE YOU A COUPLE. NO TO ANY CO-OPS AND NO TO ANY --YOU HEAR ME --NO TO ANY PUBLIC OPTION. THERE WILL BE NO REFORM UNTIL TORT REFORM IS ADDRESSED AND THE ILLEGAL ALIEN PROBLEM IS ADDRESSED. THAT WOULD TAKE CARE OF THE MAJORITY OF THE HEALTH CARE PROBLEM! IF YOU VOTE FOR THIS DISASTER PIECE OF LEGALESE CRAP WHICH YOU HAVEN'T EVEN READ I WILL PERSONALLY GO DOOR TO DOOR UNTIL YOU ARE OUT OF OFFICE. YOU WORK FOR US! ALSO YOU CHICKEN --YOU WERE ALLOWED BY MADAME MARXIST PELOSI TO VOTE AGAINST CAP & TRADE OR YOU WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR IT! I HAVE NO RESPECT FOR YOU. PS QUIT SPENDING MY TAX DOLLARS IN YOUR HIGH RENT OFFICE. GO RENT SOME ROCK WHERE YOU HIDE UNDER ALL THE TIME!

Linda said...

Tort reform has been bandied about in the past, and a couple of states have tried it. Research it, and you will find that states like Texas have found no difference in the desired reform effect. And although the illegal immigrants are problematic, they aren't the sole reason for the problems...not by far. Health care companies are STILL making hand-over-fist profits. Don't confuse hospital problems with health care reform. They are two separate issues. (And a handy attack in a divert-from-the-real-issue-and-throw-out-an-offensive-fireball-when-you-run-out-of-cogent-argument-talking-points.)

Also, why are you so afraid of the public option? Why so vitriolic about it? Do you work for a health care company?

And lastly, your president came into office with a balanced budget. He then changed that very fast. Obama has inherited his mess. He's at least trying to, and can be argued--succeeding in, diverting a depression.

Obama is also listening to the vast majority of Americans who are FOR health care reform. Only those who have excellent coverage are arguing against the need. Good for you, I'm glad you're not worried about health insurance. But open your eyes to see past your tunnel vision.

Incidentally--geesh man, check your grammar! You do your cause no good when you are incomprehensible.

cpmaz said...

KTRADER -

Just a couple of suggestions to help the readability of your comments -

1. Turn off "Caps Lock." It'll help. Trust me.

2. Paragraphs.


Linda - Nice effort, but I'm pretty sure that your arguments were lost on that particular commenter.

Mercurious said...

Pssst Nurse, I think Ktrader needs his meds.....