Healthcare Response from My Congresswomen

I sent an email to my Congresswoman, the Honorable Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), expressing my concern about the Healthcare legislation, it’s speed, size, and unknowability. She was understanding of my concerns and sent me a couple of pdfs to explain the bill (HR 3200).



Take a look.

I don’t understand the cost number she uses compared to the CBO’s. I’m curious also about how we’ll be sure that illegal aliens don’t get government healthcare. But she’s certain that costs as part of the Fed’s budget won’t increase beyond the tax burden (placed on those pesky wealthy folks) and illegal aliens won’t get any of our wonderful healthcare gratis.

I wasn’t sure about the “no health care” tax, but she says explicitly that HR 3200 will add a 2.5% income tax charge to anyone who can afford healthcare but chooses not to purchase it. The tax will be capped at whatever the national average healthcare premium is. So if I wanted to trust to my own health, preparation, genes, and luck – I would still have to pay for everyone else. Yummy.

And I liked this in the FAQ.

27. Have you read the bill?

We had a five-hour session for all the Members of Congress to walk through the legislation section-by-section.
None of us have any excuse for saying we don‘t understand this legislation.

I can read pretty quickly. And I am sure there are people who can read and comprehend much more quickly than I do. But, are they all in Congress? I can say with certainty that I cannot comprehend a 1000 page novel in a 5 hour setting, let alone a piece of legislation broad enough to affect 15% of our economy. Imagine a 1000 page novel (Les Miserables, Bleak House, The Brother Karamazov, The Lord of the Rings) and (if you’ve read any of these) ask yourself how much of the novel would be left out in a 5 hour movie?

I would not be shocked to learn that our representatives do not read every page of every bill they vote upon. But I do think they should read every page in this one.

And I liked this in the FAQ:

3. Will this be the same as what members of Congress get?

Members of Congress get a choice of plans through an exchange called FEHBP that the Federal government – as the employer of members of Congress – provides. They pay different premiums depending on which plan they choose. The new system that the House bill creates will work very much the same way. Individuals who don‘t have coverage from their employer, or whose employer chooses to purchase coverage in the Health
Insurance Exchange, will be able to choose from a variety of plans in the Exchange that offer different levels of coverage. Individuals will choose the plan that they want and will have assistance in paying their premiums if they have low or middle incomes.

Seems like “no” would have been enough.

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