First off, I wanted to thank Sen. Lisa Murkowski for standing firm in her choice to not vote for this health reform. She was right in stating that the bill goes against the will of the people.
Now, in order to not refer to name calling to get my point across, I will stick with the facts. This bill does not mean that government will be paying for 30 million people to be added to the insurance rolls. It does mean that certain subsidies will be provided initially to purchase a health care plan - but Americans will be paying for that plan every month, not the government.
Next, the point was brought up about this bill banning insurance companies from dropping people with pre-existing conditions. It is fact that many states already have laws in place banning this kind of action from insurance companies. Now, if you take the time to really look into this bill fully, you will discover that it makes it a misdemeanor crime to not purchase insurance and also creates a financial penalty at the end of each year. It will either be a flat fee or 2 percent of your yearly income, and you will have to pay it if you have no insurance.
Also, you will immediately begin paying for this as soon as it is made into law. You, however, will not see any benefits until 2014. Union members are exempt and will not be required to pay taxes on their plans until 2018 if this bill passes.
Further, it is fact that Medicare will be cut drastically in order to finance other programs through the Senate bill. Do me a favor - if you don't agree or don't believe this, check it out for yourself. I assure you, you'll find it to be true.
Now with such high unemployment throughout the United States and foreclosures still on the rise, do you really think that this is all about health care? Murkowski said that although reconciliation has been used in the past before, it has never been used for major legislation such as this that will affect 17 percent of our economy. Think about that.
There is a drastic push for this despite poll after poll, but it's not about health care reform. It's a power grab and people really need to realize this. I realize that most of you have made your sentiments known to your local representatives, but you really need to turn up the heat on this. Health care is very important to all of us and no one should go without it.
But this is not the way to proceed, with a 2,700-page bill. Creating more red tape and giving the government control over you and your families pocketbooks is not the way to go.
We need to take a fiscally responsible approach and fix this system step by step in order to do it right. It will never be accomplished with the senate bill. If this was so good, then why are so many states and their governors against it? It's because they see what you don't see.
We are running out of time. If this passes, it will be a huge problem despite Republicans' best efforts to repeal it. It is easier to pass than to repeal. We all know that.
Rhonda Hartzell lives in Angoon.
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