Monday, August 31, 2009

Jay Inslee Town Hall Part 1

I went to the Jay Inslee Health Care Town Hall on Sunday in Edmonds. Did not get a chance to ask my question which is if a public option is passed with health care reform, will you sign up for that as your health care. Someone else though did ask the question. He did not answer her either.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jay Inslee Responds To My Question... Part 2

3+ weeks ago I emailed Representative Inslee the question If a government run health care plan is passed, will you pledge to sign up for that as your health care insurance?

I received a reply 1 week ago with a form letter that in no way shape or form answered my question. I called the Shoreline WA. office to let them know that my question was not answered. They said they would resubmit the question and I should have an answer in 2 weeks. I called back the next day asking if they could put my question at the top of the list since I had already waited 2+ weeks. They said they would see what they could do.

Last night I received a response to my question. I would include the reply in this post but since it is identical to the last reply that I included in the previous post that in no way shape or form answered the question, I will not bother.

Is this incompetence or cowardice? There really are not any other options.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Suddenly, Calling Someone a Nazi is No Longer Acceptable... Sometimes.

Leonard Pitts writes a column letting us know how horrible it is to call someone a Nazi.
I hope this column makes you sick.

See, we'll be talking about Nazis, something many of us are doing lately. Indeed, just this week a fellow named Joseph e-mailed me about a caller he heard on a radio show. The man, vexed over health-care reform, likened President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Asked why, he said, "Hitler took over the car companies, then health care and then he killed the Jews."

Thanks Leonard, did not know that... well actually I did.

I guess though that Mr. Pitts did not remember Nancy Pelosi's recent comments:

Or Washington's own Brian Baird's "brownshirts" comment.

And finally, there is the Zombie Time's retrospective of Bush = Hitler references. It is a bunch of lefties expressing themselves so this is your content warning.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jay Inslee Responds To My Question

2+ weeks ago I emailed Representative Inslee the question If a government run health care plan is passed, will you pledge to sign up for that as your health care insurance? Here is his reply:

Thank you for contacting me regarding potential health care reforms. I appreciate hearing from you.

As you may know, Members of Congress and retired Members are entitled to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) under the same rules as other federal employees. The Federal Government and enrollees of FEHBP jointly pay for the cost, or premiums, of the FEHBP plans. Participants pay an average of 28 percent, but no less than 25 percent of premiums. Members of Congress must also pay the same payroll taxes as all other workers for Medicare Advantage Part A coverage.

I would like you to know that I share your concern for reducing the tax burden of the American public. As a father of three, I know how hard it is to pay the mortgage, save for retirement, send our children to college, and pay taxes. I firmly believe that any increases in spending or changes to our tax code should simplify the system, increase our nation's savings rate, and fairly tax individuals of varying income.

While this is true, I am deeply concerned as the cost of medical care has risen over the years. Inflation within the medical sector has risen at an alarming rate, and we have seen health care spending rise from an average of $348 per person in 1970 to $7,026 in 2006. There are multiple factors for this and it is one of the reasons I believe the time for health care reform is now. I believe we must continue to work to expand affordable, high quality coverage, and contain medical costs. Critics of the reform process have claimed that attempts to limit cost will necessarily limit services and lead to rationing. On the contrary, funding in H.R. 3200 is directed towards comparative effectiveness research that will help doctors decide what treatments will be most effective for their patients, thereby promoting high quality care as opposed to simply high quantity care. This research will also help to combat overutilization practices, or so-called "defensive medicine," another driver of high costs in the system.

You may be interested to know that throughout the process of consideration of H.R. 3200 in the Energy & Commerce Committee I have voiced my concern that the initial version of the bill did not do enough to address the high cost of health care, and I have worked diligently with my colleagues to add additional cost containment measures to the bill. Our Nation spent over $2 billion dollars on health care in 2007, or more than $7,000 per person. If the inefficiencies in the system aren't addressed, by the year 2025 it is estimated that one of every four dollars in our national economy will be consumed by the health care system. One of my focuses in the reform process has been addressing inequities in the Medicare reimbursement process. I worked hard for the inclusion of two studies in the reform bill that, when implemented, will lead to the creation of a value index to guide reimbursement rates, and address the geographical disparities that have long affected physicians in Washington state. Under the current Medicare reimbursement formula, payment for services rewards the quantity of services, rather than the effectiveness of those services. For this reason, Washington state physicians have historically been reimbursed at a lesser rate compared to their peers in other parts of the country, due to the efficient, high-quality service they provide. Implementation of the two IOM studies will rectify this historic inequity and provide real cost-containment by incentivizing and reimbursing for the quality, not the quantity, of medical care across the United States. This reform will also benefit Washington state's senior citizens, who suffer from limited access to providers as a result of the reimbursement inequality that affects low-cost areas. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that these Medicare reforms will save more than $500 billion in the next decade.

I would also like to take a moment to address one of the most common misconceptions related to the health care reform effort. Many voices critical of reform have pointed to a section that addresses seniors' consultations with their physicians as cause for concern. The provision in question, found in Part 3, Section 1233, simply allows for Medicare coverage of "advanced care planning consultations," sessions in which a physician can offer details as to what options the patient has for end-of-life care. These sessions would be in no way mandatory, and the purpose of this section is to merely to extend Medicare coverage to a common medical practice, making physicians more likely to be available to patients who are interested in the service but couldn't otherwise afford it, protecting the doctor patient relationship.

I believe that it is important to protect the interest of the consumer by providing choices so that people may decide what solution is best for them and their family. As you may know, H.R. 3200 promotes choice through the creation of a public health insurance option that would include sliding scale affordability credits to assist those with low and moderate incomes. H.R. 3200, includes language that explicitly affirms that the public option will remain just that, optional, and will be offered alongside private health insurance plans in a Health Insurance Exchange. Any individual who is satisfied with their current plan would be allowed to remain with that provider. While some express concern that this public option will lead to the disappearance of private plans, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the number of Americans with private health insurance will grow, rather than shrink, under the House bill. Additionally, the CBO projects that two-thirds of consumers who purchase insurance through the Health Insurance Exchange will opt for one of the private plans, and they further estimate that only 3% of our country will select the public insurance option in the first decade after it is implemented. Perhaps most importantly, this public option is entirely budget neutral, financed primarily through its own premiums.

Finally, as you know, most federal assistance programs are meant for citizens and legal residents only. Standing federal laws bar any illegal immigrant from receiving any direct federal assistance such as Social Security, Medicare, or housing assistance. H.R. 3200 expressly prohibits the payment of the public plan's affordability credits to individuals who are not legally documented residents. It would also create a small business health tax credit to make it easier for small businesses to cover their employees and assist in lowering premium costs for businesses. This bill also seeks to improve Medicare and Medicaid and prevent waste, fraud and abuse in the programs. These are just a few components of the proposed legislation. Knowing your interest in this issue, I encourage you to visit the Energy and Commerce website for a more comprehensive look at this bill. I hope you will find the following summary of interest:

At this time, H.R. 3200 has been approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee and reported to the full House of Representatives. In the interest of allowing for ample consideration of such a hugely important issue, the House will not vote on the bill until after the August recess. I will keep your thoughts in mind as the bill moves through the legislative process.

Please continue to contact me about the issues that concern you, as I both need and welcome your thoughts and ideas. I encourage you to contact me via email, telephone, or fax, because security measures in the House cause delays in receiving postal mail. For more information on my activities in Congress, and for information on services that my office can provide, please visit my website at If you would like to subscribe to my email updates, please visit

Very truly yours,

Member of Congress

Is that yes or no?

I called the Shoreline office letting them know he did not answer the question. They said they would submit it again and I should hear back in about 2 weeks.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

News Flash! Jay Inslee Lives In The District He Represents

I called Jay Inslee's Shoreline office the other day asking about any scheduled town hall meetings, either in person or on the phone. I was told nothing was planned but that could change because Representative Inslee lives in the district. I then explained to the person that it is a requirement to represent the district.

Early this morning I saw on the news that Representative Inslee was holding a round table discussion at the Dale Turner YMCA at 9:30. I guess that one escaped his office's notice, as well as those who put out his press releases.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Obama Spokesperson Gibbs Intentionally Misleads The Press
The press says nothing.

Start watching at 5:45:

"All we are asking people to do is if they are confused about what healthcare reform is going to mean to them, we will clear that up for them."

Here is what the White House web page says:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to

There is no "if you are confused let us know and we will clarify" kind of statement in there. It is clearly rat on your family and friends who send you emails that do not follow our version of the story.

The frustrating thing is the "reporters" have to know what Robert Gibbs just told them is not accurate and nobody, not one single person calls him on it.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jay Inslee Is A Coward

My Congressman, Jay Inslee, has been doing phone town hall meetings recently. You did not know that???... probably because you do not check his web page every single day. You see, Representative Inslee puts out press releases on his web page informing the public of these calls. Here is the release, dated July 29th for the last one:

Inslee to hold telephone town hall meeting - Wednesday, July 29

July 29, 2009

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) is hosting a telephone town hall meeting tonight so he can speak with his constituents about the health care reform bill. The call begins at 7:10 p.m. PDT and will last for one hour.

In the call, Rep. Inslee will give a update on the health care reform bill and its status. After that, he will then answer constituent's questions and listen to comments and concerns about the legislation.

Dial-in information is as follows:

-- Toll-free participant line: 877-229-8493 or 877-269-7289
-- Conference code: 13634

Now if you were paying attention, the press release was put out the same exact day as the town hall.

I just happened to see this release on the 29th and called the office to ask what is the deal with putting out the release the same day. I was told they often do these things last minute and they said they would take my number and call me when they have another one. So I gave them my number. I have since checked the website every day or two and 2 days ago, Monday August 3rd, there was no mention of a town hall. I then check today and guess what, a town hall scheduled for today, Wednesday August 5th. Here is the release:

Media releases
Inslee to hold additional telephone town hall meeting

August 2, 2009

In light of the success of his July 29th telephone town hall meeting, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) will host another telephone town hall meeting on Wednesday, August 5th so he can speak with his constituents about the health care reform bill. The call begins at 7:30 p.m. PDT and will last for one hour.

In the call, Rep. Inslee will give a update on the health care reform bill and its status. After that, he will then answer constituent's questions and listen to comments and concerns about the legislation.

Dial-in information is as follows:
-- Toll-free participant line: 877-269-7289
-- Conference code: 13634

So to recap, the press release dated August 2nd was put on the web sometime after mid morning August 3rd and that phone call I was promised... {insert crickets chirping}

Something tells me he would prefer to not have people know about these. What a gutless coward.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Animal Farm... 1984...

I just watched Animal Farm with my soon to be 10 year old son and we are starting to read 1984. That is why this from the White House website officially creeps me out.

Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to

Monday, August 03, 2009

Healthcare Phone Calls To My Representatives

I have called the offices, both local and Washington DC, as well as emailed, my congressional delegation, Jay Inslee, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, 6 phone call, 3 emails, with one simply question…. If a healthcare bill with a government run public option is passed, will the Congressman / Senator pledge to sign up for that plan for their health insurance. The lack of a response has been eye opening.

It has become extremely clear to me that this is a question the offices have received many times and they simply have no good answer. I say this because the one person I did speak to who was not the front line telephone answerer told me that I am not the first person to ask this question but did everything she could to not answer the question and would not promise me she would get an answer, just like everyone else I spoke with. I will go a step farther and state I firmly believe that the offices have been in contact with each other and have talked about what to do to not answer this question. The reason I state this is because I have got the same non answers with almost the exact same wording from all 6 locations. So now almost 2full weeks after sending the original emails and making the first phone calls, I have yet to get a single response.

The most amazing conversation was one where when I first called and asked the question, I was originally told by the person answering the phone that she could not speak for Representative Inslee, which is the exact same first response I have received with all 6 calls. I told her I understood and then asked if she knew the answer to the question. She said no. I then asked if she could find someone else in the office who might know the answer. After 2 minutes of waiting on hold, she came back and said nobody else in the office knows the answer. I then asked if she knew who I should talk to in order to get the answer. She replied that would be me. After about 10 seconds worth of awkward pause / stunned silence, I told her that she did not know the answer. At this point I was not sure if she knew that or not. I then came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. I told her what she should do is next time she sees Representative Inslee, she should walk up to him and say a voter called with this question, then ask the question and then after he gives the answer, she should call me back with that answer. She told me she was not sure she could do that in her position in the office. I then asked if she was physically capable of asking the Representative a question and she said she was. I told her it sounds to me like it is not a case of you not being able to ask the question, but rather you are not willing to ask the question and my guess is it is because we both know the truthful answer will make the representative look bad. She said she could not speak for the Representative.

While this was the most extreme example, all of the 6 calls have had a very similar nonsensical run around quality to them. An absolute unwillingness to try to get my question answered.

Feel free to call your representatives and see how their tax payer supported employees respond.