This is a must read, look at who it shuts out of health care, you and me...
Reply from Congressman Daniel E. Lungren
Dear Mr. Hxxxxx,
Thank you for contacting my office regarding healthcare reform. As you may know, my father was both an internist and cardiologist who practiced medicine for more than 40 years. The healthcare issue is of paramount importance to me. We must address the issues of access and affordability, without compromising quality of care.
We must look for innovative and cost effective ways to increase access to quality coverage for the uninsured. In my view such access is best increased by providing mechanisms by which Americans can purchase healthcare coverage plans that meet their individual needs. This may involve tax credits or perhaps subsidies for low income and unemployed Americans.
In my view it is also essential to increase access to care without increasing government interference in personal healthcare decisions. For this reason, I support the creation of statewide health insurance exchanges that allow individuals to purchase healthcare coverage that it right for them. Exchanges would offer a diverse assortment of insurance plans, with each plan meeting minimum coverage requirements, similar to those available through the Federal Employee Health Plan. In order to adjust risk and ensure that no one may be denied coverage on the basis of age or preexisting conditions, such a system would necessitate rewarding insurers who provide coverage for high-risk subscribers. This would provide both access and portability, while giving Americans the opportunity to choose their own healthcare coverage.
In regard to a public or government-run plan, I have concerns because of a recent assessment by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) of the "Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009," a leading public plan proposal. Under the Act, the federal government would subsidize the cost of healthcare for individuals and families earning between 150% to 500% (or $110,000 for a family of four) of the federal poverty level. According to the CBO's preliminary assessment, "enacting the proposal would result in a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.6 trillion over the 2010 to 2019 period." While about 39 million individuals would initially be eligible for coverage under the proposal, the CBO estimated that "the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and the coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million, so the net decrease in the number of uninsured would be about 16 million."
The Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 has also been assessed by the Health Systems Innovations Network, which found the cost over ten years to be over $4.0 trillion, with a likely "crowd out" of 79.3 million Americans with existing private insurance.
I believe Congress can do better than this. I believe we can look to proposals that would create healthcare exchanges administered on a statewide, or even regional, basis that will offer insurance plans tailored to the needs of Americans, rather than imposing a government-run option that reads like a one-size-fits-all approach.
As this Congress continues to consider healthcare legislation, I will evaluate all proposals to ensure that Americans are able to choose quality affordable coverage options that meet their individual healthcare needs.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your views with me.
If you would like to stay informed about federal legislation introduced in the 111th Congress, as well as local issues that may interest you, please take a moment to subscribe to my weekly e-newsletter at www.lungren.house.gov.
I look forward to discussing this or any other issue affecting our 3rd Congressional District with you in the future. For upcoming Town Hall meetings, or for information on issues or legislation pending before Congress, please visit my website at www.lungren.house.gov. If you need assistance with a federal agency, please call my Gold River office at (916) 859-9906. My staff and I are always available to address your concerns, answer your questions, and listen to your ideas.
Daniel E. Lungren
Member of Congress