Darcy P's Email to Representative Gary L. Ackerman
I gave you a grade of F. I wrote you to oppose Healthcare and your wrote the worst canned message I have received yet and used that Obama phrase that makes me crazy - "let me be perfectly clear". Needles to say - I andeveryone I know will not be voting for you in 2010.
Knowing of your concern about federally mandated healthcare coverage for all Americans, I wanted to provide you with an update on this critical issue. Let me be absolutely clear: every single American should have access to affordable and quality healthcare coverage, and I believe Congress must enact legislation this year to finally end the problem of the uninsured. Currently, almost 20 percent of the country's total population, more than 46 million Americans, have no health insurance. More troubling, over 9 million children and teenagers, almost a quarter of all Americans under the age of 18, do not have healthcare coverage. In New York State alone, over 2.8 million have no health insurance. Without proper insurance, children and adults do not have access to regular preventive and screening checks, and often delay obtaining treatment until they are seriously ill. The lack of health coverage leads to increases in lost employee days at work, greater numbers of emergency-room visits, and higher healthcare bills for everyone.
The long overdue reform of our national healthcare system has finally begun. As a vital first step, Congress has already expanded the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by providing new funding to cover more children and make it easier for states to enroll eligible children in these programs. I strongly supported expanding SCHIP to cover 11 million children, about 4 million more kids than the program currently covers.
And, building on this success, later this year, Congress will finally tackle the challenge of providing health insurance to every American. Put simply, I believe all Americans should have access to the same health coverage as their Member of Congress. I have long believed that Congress should find a way to utilize the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) to make healthcare available to all Americans. FEHBP already successfully covers over 8 million federal employees and their families, even those Members of Congress most opposed to universal health care coverage. The federal health-insurance program offers over 300 national and regional plans, a wider range of health plans than any other health-insurance program in the country. Because of this competition between different plans, costs are contained. I see no reason why this coverage or equivalent coverage cannot be made available to every American.
The previous Administration never acknowledged the moral or economic costs we pay every day for our failure to fix this problem. Fortunately, President Obama has made comprehensive health reform a top priority right away. I look forward to working with the Obama Administration to make sure that healthcare reform: contains costs and is affordable; puts our country on a clear path to universal coverage; provides portable coverage; ensures choice of physicians and health plans; promotes prevention and wellness; improves the quality of care; and is fiscally sustainable over the long-term. Putting these principles into action is not only do-able, but is absolutely essential.
I appreciate you contacting my office to express your concerns about this critical issue. Of course, if I can be of any further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.
GARY L. ACKERMANGo back