Has Senator Murray caved?

I wrote a letter to both of my Senators both are liberals from the word go.  I really hate that I live in this state because of its politics.  Most of the people here are liberals and it drives me nuts.

Anyway, I wrote the same letter to BOTH my senators (Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray)  and the following responses are what I got:

Dear sir:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Obamacare Taxpayer Bailout Prevention Act (S.1726), which is currently pending in the United States Senate. I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.In the Senate, this legislation falls under the jurisdiction of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. As a member of this Committee, I want to assure you that I will be following the progress of this bill and will keep your views in mind if this or related legislation comes before the full Senate for consideration.If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my updates at http://murray.senate.gov/updates. Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Patty Murray
United States Senator

Dear Sir,

Thank you for contacting me about comprehensive health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.As you know, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) into law on March 23, 2010. With this historic act, which I was privileged to witness in the White House East Room, our nation affirmed that health care should be available to every American, not just a privilege for those who can afford it. This legislation was originally approved by the Senate, with my support, on December 24, 2009. This new law will regulate insurance companies to protect consumers, ensure that 94 percent of Americans have health coverage, including more than 810,000 Washingtonians currently without coverage, improve Medicare benefits, and reduce the federal deficit by $210 billion over the next ten years.

This health care legislation stabilizes skyrocketing costs, encourages quality and extends health care coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans. It also tightly regulates the health insurance industry to protect consumers from being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will be prevented from dropping coverage due to illness and premium rate increases will be subject to review. Additionally, small businesses will be allowed to pool together to achieve the purchasing power of large companies, which will finally allow them to access affordable coverage for their employees.

Included as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the Federal Basic Health Plan Option (FBHPO), a provision I fought hard to include. In the law, this provision allows all 50 states to establish programs similar to Washington’s Basic Health Plan, which has a successful 20-year track-record of providing quality coverage to people with incomes between 138 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The FBHPO enables states to negotiate directly with health insurers to provide health coverage to those who are ineligible for Medicaid, but unable to afford private health insurance coverage. The FBHPO will be 95 percent federally-funded. On September 20, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a proposed rule detailing guidelines for the FBHPO. CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule until November 25, 2013. By January 1, 2015, the FBHPO will operational in states choosing to participate. Informal estimates project that a typical Basic Health Plan will cost 30 percent less than the same plan in today’s market. In Washington State, residents will see improved benefit packages under the Basic Health Plan, and the state will save much needed funds.

Also included in the new health reform law is my Medicare “value-index.” This proposal will adjust the way physicians are paid under Medicare to reward high quality health care. Under the current system, doctors are paid strictly by the number of services they provide to patients without regard to how their patient’s health improves. My value-index provision puts the focus back on patient health, paying doctors more when they provide better care to their patients.

Provisions in the Affordable Care Act have been gradually introduced since 2010. The first provisions implemented in 2010 include allowing children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26. In 2011, the law required that health insurers to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of all premium dollars on health care services and quality improvement. The law also provides certain free preventive services for seniors on Medicare and prescription drug discounts for seniors with Medicare Part D. In 2011, the law created incentives for primary care doctors to work in underserved areas by providing a 10 percent Medicare bonus payment for primary care services and to general surgeons practicing in health professional shortage areas. This provision has helped increase access for seniors to Medicare primary care providers. In 2011, the law provided three-year grants to states to develop programs to prevent chronic diseases by encouraging Medicaid enrollees to participate in comprehensive health lifestyle programs. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are testing new ways to deliver lower-cost and higher-quality care through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Finally, the Community Care Transitions Program is now avoiding unnecessary hospital readmissions by coordinating care and connecting discharged patients to health services in their communities.

Starting January 1, 2014, the law requires that health insurance exchanges be available in every state. The exchanges will provide a structured marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can choose from an array of affordable and comprehensive health insurance plans. Open enrollment for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange is October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Individuals must be enrolled by December 23, 2013 to begin receiving coverage on January 1, 2014. For more information about the exchange or what kind of health coverage you may qualify for, I encourage you to visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org or call 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633) to speak with a customer support representative.

Another key provision of the law is the expansion of the Medicaid program. In 2014, U.S. citizens under the age of 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level will qualify for Medicaid. As ruled by the Supreme Court, the expansion is an optional provision giving states the choice to expand their Medicaid programs. I’m proud that Washington State has opted to implement the expansion, which means an additional 250,000 Washingtonians will be newly eligible for Medicaid benefits.

I am proud we were able to accomplish what Washingtonians told me they wanted in health care reform: lowering costs, expanding high-quality coverage, and preserving the best of what we have. These policies, along with the many others included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will change health care in America for the better today and for the long-term.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

So has Senator Murray lost her support for ObamaCare?  I have written her before and the responses were much longer and more passionate… this response lacks any form of passion or supportive comments.  Is this a sign that democrats are losing the guts to fight?

I see that Senator Cantwell still wants to keep up the appearance that she is fighting.. still clinging to the ideas that ObamaCare works, “This health care legislation stabilizes skyrocketing [health care] costs” and “I am proud we were able to accomplish what Washingtonians told me they wanted in health care reform: lowering costs”.  Wake up you idiot… it is not saving anyone ANY money.  One more thing, I never told you that’s what I wanted and I am a Washingtonian.

Anyway, I was trying to strike a comparison between the two responses not fight the ObamaCare fight in this blog post but I had to comment… :).  The flaws in Maria Cantwell’s email are a fight for another day.

"The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become." Ronald Reagan

Posted in Health Care