About 2 weeks ago I called Rep. Inslee's office and asked about the claim that with healthcare reform, if I liked my doctor, I can keep my doctor and how does that work since for most people, like myself, our employer decides what insurance plan we are on and if our employer changes plans and the doctor we have is not on the new plan, oh well. So how do I keep my doctor if my employer changes plans. I was told I must have misunderstood. Well guess what...
Those who currently have insurance they like, for example those receiving coverage through their employer, would be able to keep it.
Below is the entire email I just received today from Rep. Inslee.
Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns with legislation to
reform our nation's health care system. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you know, beginning in July 2009, both chambers of Congress began
considering legislation that would bring important and long-overdue changes
to our health care delivery system. The decision to reform health care was
not made lightly or for political gain, but rather because the rapidly
increasing cost of health care is both financially unsustainable for our
country and harmful to the quality of life enjoyed by average American
families. Congress undertook this process with clear goals and bipartisan
consensus on a few key issues: ensure Americans have the freedom to choose
their own health insurance provider (including keeping your own health care
plan if you like it), prevent insurance companies from dropping customers
because they become ill or have a preexisting condition, and take steps to
reduce the cost of medical inflation to save our country's long term
While I am aware that the reform process has been controversial and partisan
at times, I am confident that the bill will have a positive impact on
Americans who are struggling to provide health coverage for themselves and
their families. I want to share some of the important reforms that will be
brought about by passage of this legislation:
o Beginning six months after passage, insurance companies will no longer
be allowed to drop coverage when an individual becomes sick. Beginning in
2014, individuals will no longer be denied care simply because they have a
o Tax credits to small businesses will ease the expense of employer
coverage. Beginning immediately, qualifying small businesses will receive
up to 35 percent of premiums, and in 2014 the available subsidy will
increase to 50 percent.
o Cost-control will be addressed by provisions in the bill that allow for
states to enter into agreements that allow for the purchasing of insurance
across state lines.
o Controversial provisions, such as the "cornhusker compromise," were
eliminated from the final version of the health reform legislation.
o Under the reform package, Members of Congress and their staff will be
required to secure health insurance coverage through a plan created by the
bill, or offered on an exchange that is established by the bill.
o At the request of President Obama, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is
currently directing a pilot program to evaluate the impact of tort reform on
the cost of medical care in specific states.
The reforms mentioned above are just a few of the highlights of the health
reform package. If you would like more information on the legislation,
including the full text of the bills, please follow this link:
In the weeks and months leading up to the passage of health reform
legislation, I received calls and letters from constituents who expressed
various concerns with different aspects of the legislation, as well as the
process by which it was passed. I would like to take a moment to address
some of those concerns here, and what follows is a summary of the most
common questions associated with the health reform package:
1.Will the passage of this legislation deprive me of choice in selecting my
health insurance coverage, or force me to change providers?
I can confidently answer this question with an emphatic no. The legislation
actually expands the choices available to Americans when it comes to
purchasing health insurance. Those who currently have insurance they like,
for example those receiving coverage through their employer, would be able
to keep it. Further, individuals without employer-provided coverage, along
with small business owners, will be eligible to purchase coverage through
health insurance exchanges, in which competition among insurers will bring
down the price of coverage. These exchanges will offer a variety of
insurance plans, and the information regarding the specifics of each plan
will be readily available for consumers to compare.
2.Will the Medicare reforms enacted by this legislation hurt access to care
for America's seniors?
No, it will not. Inflation in the medical sector is being felt by all
Americans, but may be most harmful to our nation's seniors. Currently, the
average combined cost of Medicare Part B premiums and the donut hole in Part
D drug benefits is estimated to be 12% of the annual Social Security
benefit, with that share climbing to 18% by 2018. This legislation will
close the donut hole by 2020, with savings felt immediately in the form of a
$250 rebate to Part D enrollees who hit the donut hole in 2010. Also,
recommended preventive care services will be provided under Medicare at no
charge, including a free annual wellness visit. Seniors will still be able
to choose their health care provider, and the cost containment provisions of
this bill will extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by a decade.
3.Can our country really afford this legislation?
There are two important points to be made here. To begin with, when one
considers the overall cost of medical care, the annual increase in premium
rates, and the overall impact on our economy and the international
competitiveness of American companies, one conclusion is inevitable: We
can't afford not to act. In the last ten years, our country has increased
spending on health care by 90%, with premiums more than doubling for those
receiving employer-sponsored insurance. Further estimates predict inflation
in the health sector to outpace overall economic growth in the next decade,
and by 2018 one out of every five dollars spent in the United States will go
towards health care-related expenses.
The health reform legislation that was recently passed by Congress will
reverse this trend, helping both the families who have witnessed a
devastating increase in their premiums, and our nation's overall economic
competitiveness. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that, in the
next ten years, this legislation will trim $130 billion from our federal
deficit, and these savings will increase to $1.3 trillion over the following
decade. In addition, by reining in administrative costs and requiring
insurance companies to explain severe premium increases, as well as
providing affordability credits to those who can't afford coverage, this
legislation will reduce the overall cost of care, and make affordable care
more accessible to individuals and families who are currently without it.
4.Does the federal government have the constitutional authority to require
Americans to purchase health insurance?
The answer to this question is yes, for two reasons. The constitution
provides Congress with the power of taxation, and essentially the individual
requirement to purchase insurance under this bill is enforced through the
tax code - creating one tax structure for those who purchase insurance and
one for those who do not. Additionally, under the constitution, Congress
has the power to regulate interstate commerce that has a substantial effect
on the overall economy. Health insurance, at almost one-fifth of our
country's GDP, clearly falls within that authority.
Furthermore, I would like to share with you that the idea of mandated
insurance is not a new one. In fact, it isn't an idea unique to the
Democratic Party. The idea was promoted by Republicans in the early 1990s,
including Senator John McCain, and embraced by George W. Bush's Health and
Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson as late as 2008.
Additionally, in 2006, Massachusetts' Republican Governor Mitt Romney
adopted this approach when he passed comprehensive health care reform in his
state. Romney explained his position in a Wall Street Journal opinions
piece in April, 2006: "Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks
like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for health
care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the
taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian." As Mr.
Romney points out, as long as a federal law exists requiring emergency rooms
to administer treatment regardless of a patient's ability to pay, every
insured American will pay a hidden tax to help provide these uninsured
individuals with health care at an inflated expense. Therefore, the system
that new health reform legislation puts in place will save money for
individuals who have insurance currently, while expanding the number of
Americans who can access affordable coverage
5.Was this legislation passed in a fair, bipartisan, and transparent manner?
As you may know, the first step in the health reform legislative process,
H.R. 3200, was introduced in July, 2009. This bill was marked up in three
House Committees, with republican committee members offering amendments and
taking full part in debating the bill. The majority of these hearings were
broadcast on C-SPAN, and the full text of the original legislation, along
with all amendments offered, has been available on the internet since July.
In all, the House held 79 bipartisan hearings on health reform legislation,
while the Senate Finance Committee held 53 hearings and the Senate Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held 47. During these
hearings, more than 350 amendments were considered in both chambers, offered
by both Democrats and Republicans. The Senate bill, which President Obama
signed into law on March 23, 2010, includes 147 Republican amendments.
Also, to allow for full consideration by members and the public, the bill
was posted online for three months before becoming law.
As your representative in Congress, I am staunchly committed to the
democratic ideals that I have sworn to uphold. H.R. 3962, America's
Affordable Health Choices Act, passed with a majority in the House of
Representatives, by a vote of 220-215. The Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, the Senate's version of health reform, was passed by
that chamber with a supermajority, by a vote of 60-39. Following passage by
the Senate, this bill was then passed in the House of Representatives by a
vote of 219-212, with a package of budgetary adjustments then passed by the
House and awaiting approval by the Senate in a process known as
reconciliation. This is a completely transparent process, and the votes cast
on both the Senate bill and the package of adjustments are a matter of
public record. Also, you may be glad to know that the "deem and pass"
procedural tactic, known informally as the "Slaughter rule" was not used to
pass the Senate health reform legislation through the House.
As I said, the questions listed above represent some of the most common
concerns expressed to me by constituents over the course of the health
reform debate. I am confident that, despite the controversial atmosphere in
which this legislation was debated and passed, the reforms enacted by it
will preserve American's right to choose their health provider, maintain
access to care for our nation's seniors, and expand access to health
coverage for those American's currently without it. Please rest assured, I
will keep your thoughts on this important issue in mind as the process of
implementing these reforms goes forward.
Please continue to contact me about the issues that concern you, as I both
need and welcome your thoughts and ideas. Because security measures in the
House cause delays in receiving postal mail, I encourage you to contact me
by telephone, by fax, or through my website at
For more information on my activities in Congress, and for information on
services that my office can provide, please visit my website at
like to subscribe to my email updates, please visit
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress