The Battle Over Health Care

Texas leaders, like the rest the rest of the country, are divided over the need for health care reform.   The issue continues to fall along party lines, while the people who need heath care are stuck in the middle with no voice.

On Friday,  republican elected officials including Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker of the House Joe Straus today sent a letter asking the Texas Congressional Delegation to “put Texas first and vote against the federal government’s takeover of health care.”  To view the letter, please visit: http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-CongressionalDelegation20100319.pdf.

Meanwhile, State Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) joined with other lawmakers who say they’re concerned about  hardworking Texans who don’t have and can’t afford health care.  The letter was signed by fifteen other democrats.

March 19, 2010

Dear Texas Members of Congress,

Thank you for all the work you have done over the last year to ensure that your constituents — and all Texans and Americans — have access to quality, affordable health insurance. As state legislators who have spent years working towards those same goals, we know firsthand the positive impact your work will have on our state. We are writing to request you vote for healthcare legislation this weekend.

You may have received a letter from the Republican leadership in Texas, asking you to join them in opposition to reform. Most of their arguments are dated and not applicable to the version of legislation you will be voting on this weekend. Specifically, they cite as a reason for opposition a cost estimate that is not calculated on the reconciliation version of health insurance reform legislation going to the floor of the House. Additionally, they employ diversionary tactics like decrying the legislation as unconstitutional and citing “special deals” like the Nebraska Compromise. It should be noted that their constitutional arguments have been soundly refuted by legal experts and that the so called “special deals” have been removed through the reconciliation bill.

Last session, Governor Perry vowed to veto a buy-in plan for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that had broad, bipartisan support. Left to his leadership, our common constituents will never see relief from the healthcare burdens they face. The people of Texas are counting on you to bring reasonable and needed change to our health insurance system.

The cost estimate they cite is not current, is based on a different timeline than CBO scores, does not take into consideration changes like revised Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funding in the reconciliation bill, and does not note the fact that Texas stands to gain over $120 billion in new federal dollars during the first ten years of the legislation’s implementation.

The President’s plan means that the federal government would pay for 100 percent of the costs of covering newly eligible people for four years, making Texas one of the leaders of the pack in dollars received and policy changes from the federal government that solve our health care crisis.

It’s time to rewrite the rules in favor of the American people.  The legislation is a carefully crafted package which will insure 32 million Americans, give unprecedented security and stability to those with insurance, and cut the federal deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years. Health insurance reform will provide immediate relief to Texas families and small businesses.

It’s clear that Texas needs federal healthcare reform.  We’ll continue to fight on a state level regardless of the outcome, but we can’t really win the fight against the worst practices of the insurance industry without the help of our elected members of Congress and people of good will.

We support you and urge you to vote in favor health reform this weekend. Thank you for all that you do on behalf of Texans. If we may ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

 Garnet F. Coleman Leticia Van De Putte

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One Response

  1. Good article, I agree 100 percent, and i think the next thing we need is to finish enacting legislation on the most that insurance companies can charge for health insurance which still needs some work.

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