Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Let Your Senator Know What You Think About Health Care Legislation

This blog was never intended to be a political platform. Given the impending passage of a massive piece of legislation (over 2000 pages thick, yet to be bloated by pork projects as necessary to secure hesitant votes in the Senate), I'm making an exception.

If you live in or know anyone in a state with a Democratic Senator, it's time to make your voice heard. Here's a list for easy reference:

In a recent Chief Executive Boards International survey of small and mid-size businesses, 72% of CEOs and owners agreed that the US health care system needs some type of reform. That same audience, however, polled overwhelmingly against most of the provisions in the current legislation (public option, "pay or play", required coverage, etc.). In general, the respondents doubt that Government can, in fact, reduce costs or improve delivery of anything, health care included. And they surely don't want to bet almost a trillion dollars to find out. View Survey Results

What this audience wants is:
  • Eliminating or restricting exclusion of pre-existing conditions in private (non-group) plans
  • Subsidies for low income people who want coverage
  • Portability -- coverage follows the patient
  • A "risk pool" for small businesses (Chambers of Commerce, trade groups, etc.)
  • Consumerism -- make costs visible to patients and let them benefit from cost containment
  • Tort Reform -- reduce "defensive medicine" motivators (and excuses) by physicians and hospitals
  • Competition among insurance carriers across state lines

Passage of this legislation in something like its current form has become a party line issue -- Senate Republicans squarely against, almost unanimously, and Senate Democrats inclined to support their party leader, President Obama. The question is, what do the American people want? The fact that this legislation has drawn so much public attention to date might be an indication this isn't what they want.

If Democratic Senators band together, something will get passed. It's not likely to be a scaled-down version. Legislation has a way of taking on baggage. These bills started out at only 1,000 pages! Odds are that what's passed will be even larger, more complex, and more expensive than current estimates.

If, on the other hand, Democratic Senators from more conservative States hear a different message from back home, the impending 2010 elections may provide enough of a motivation to block this behemoth from passing. My own two Republican Senators will vote against this legislation -- I have no more votes to cast personally. Only people represented by Democratic Senators can make a difference in this specific case.

So, if you live in any state with a Democratic Senator, please take a moment to let him or her know where you stand -- either way -- for, or against this legislation. Emails are worth something. Snail Mail is reputedly more impactful. To make this convenient, here's an Excel file with names, mailing addresses and email addresses for all Senate Democrats. If you live in one of these states and make your voice heard, you can perhaps make a difference in the course of this legislation:

If you have a point of view you'd like to share with other CEOs and business owners, please click "Comments" below and let us know what you think.

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International

Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

1 comment:

  1. Well, I support the legislation's concept.
    There are some circumstances in which only the federal government can intervene and health care is one of those. Retirees and poor people already receive free medical care from the government. The working class and small business should have a pool to shop from. It is difficult to obtain insurance if you have a serious illness and that is where the public option would help.
    I own a union construction company and we pay approx. $7.50 per hour worked into a union health insurance fund. That is the contributuion, it does not include the OH, etc.
    As a matter of prtinciple, if one segment of the population can receive free health care (retirees) then all should. It is not fair that certain segments receive free surgeries, etc while others cannot visit for a flu. Either spread it to all to end it for the few.


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