Monday, August 31, 2009

Healthcare letter: for viral distribution

I've written a sample letter I'm hoping to get out to as many people as possible. This is the last week of the Congressional recess and your Senators and Representatives may think they can relax. We need to keep the pressure on to make them painfully aware that we - their constituents - are mightily pissed off about this and that we don't buy the BS coming out of the White House. I urge everyone to use this sample letter and send a copy to your Representative and to your two Senators. Then send a copy of the letter to everyone you know locally and to everyone you know in any other Congressional districts and states. Perhaps we can get this going virally and deluge the politicians with letters from the very people who elect them. Maybe we'll even get their attention.

Dear (insert Rep or Sen name):

I am a constituent, writing to you about the ‘healthcare’ issue. I use quotes because it is apparent that this is not at all about healthcare but about ensuring insurance company profits for the foreseeable future.

I am adamantly against any ‘healthcare’ legislation at this time, for two reasons: first, the ‘healthcare’ proposals, in any of the five versions of the bill that I have seen, are dedicated to preserving the status quo; which means they are not solutions at all. Second, if this sham proposal goes through it will destroy any chance for true reform, i.e., single payer, for at least one generation, probably two.

I say ‘single payer’ because that is the only way we are ever going to get true healthcare reform – private healthcare insurance has to go. Until we can face that simple fact we will not get healthcare costs under control, ever.

I say ‘we’ but of course I mean you as my Representative or Senator. You are responsible for getting us out of this mess and please don’t talk to me about ‘public options’ or ‘healthcare co-ops’ these are ridiculous red herrings and you know it. There is only one way to contain and control healthcare in this country: single payer. Every other modern country in the world has single payer in one form or another: they all work much better than ours and cost half as much to run.

There is a reason they cost that much less to run, here are the numbers from the 2008 annual reports of the top four private health insurers:

United Health Group 2008 Results of Operations SEC filing 10-K
Revenues    $81,186,000,000.00
Medical Costs   $60,359,000,000.00
Remainder    $20,827,000,000.00
Remainder as percentage of Revenue:  25.6%

Wellpoint 2008 Results of Operations SEC filing 10-K
Premiums   $61,679,200,000.00
Benefit expense    $47,742,400,000.00
Remainder    $13,936,800,000.00
Remainder as percentage of Premiums:  22.6%

Aetna Inc PA 2008 Results of Operations SEC filing 10-K
Revenues    $28,775,000,000.00
Medical Costs   $20,785,000,000.00
Remainder    $7,990,000,000.00
Remainder as percentage of Revenue:  27.7%

Humana 2008 Results of Operations SEC filing 10-K

Revenues    $28,064,844,000.00
Benefit Expenses    $23,708,233,000.00
Remainder    $4,356,611,000.00
Remainder as percentage of Revenue:  15.5%

These numbers, proof of the obscenely high profit margins of private insurers, should help you in your argument against this atrociously bad legislation. It may help stiffen your resolve to remember that these profits are made on the suffering of your constituents.

In the legal world there is a phrase used to affix responsibility for actions or failure to act, it is: “Knew or should have known”.

Now that you have the above information, you can no longer claim ignorance, you are responsible.

Please know, also, that we will hold you accountable. This is a defining moment for you as my Representative or Senator. No previous good works will sway me if you fail to represent my interest in this matter – unless you vote against this preternaturally bad legislation, I will vote against you in your next election. Furthermore, I will make every effort to see that you are defeated and turned out of office.

Very truly yours,

(your name)

Go here to find your Representative's contact information.

Go here to find your Senator's contact information.

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