Markey critic off-base on health-care reform

I believe that by voting in favor of health care reform, U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey proves that she is brave leader for Colorado’s fourth district. After reading Joe Krogmeier’s guest opinion (“Markey’s health-care errors,” April 11), I was compelled to respond with the many reasons why I disagree, point by point.

In his first and most prominent argument, Krogmeier suggests that the $1.3 trillion deficit reduction over the next 20 years (as determined by the Congressional Budget Office) is suspect due to creative accounting. This claim is unsubstantiated and it’s important to note that the CBO is an impartial body that reviews all bills proposed by Congress. The CBO reviewed both of the Bush tax cuts and made a good estimation of what the costs to our country would be. Unfortunately, President Bush and the Congress of those days moved ahead in spite of the devastating CBO numbers. While I agree that only time will tell if the health-care bill saves Americans money,  I appreciate this Congress’ efforts, and Rep. Markey’s vote, to reduce the national deficit.

I for one am rooting for savings and had a government-sponsored insurance option such as Medicare for all been offered, the savings and even earnings, yes earnings, for the Medicare program could have led to greater deficit reduction. Imagine if healthy young Americans could buy an affordable insurance plan through the struggling Medicare program. In this case, the balance of those insured would resemble a for-profit insurance company.

Although not presented in any measurable way, Krogmeier wonders if those with pre-existing conditions elected not to buy coverage when they were healthy and are therefore now excluded from the private insurance pool. Perhaps this is the case for some of those looking for high-risk coverage, but let’s examine another possibility: Until the autumn of 2008, most hard-working Americans had jobs, health insurance, homes, 401(k)’s, etc.  Because of the Bush administration’s bank bailouts, tax cuts, wars and the largest expansion of government in history (none of which were paid for), many Americans are now without jobs, health insurance, retirement funds, homes, etc. And while it’s very convenient to blame individuals for insurance company abuses, once again, it is not based on anything factual.

Taking this one step further, we must keep in mind that many of these out-of-work Americans have children. Without a doubt some of these children have pre-existing conditions and when parents lose coverage, so do their children. Now Krogmeier proposes that we throw these children into a government program such as Medicaid. Extending government aid to these children as the private insurance companies who refuse to insure them continue to make record profits is not a fiscally sound answer. Without the recently passed reform, Medicaid costs would continue to drive our deficit up. This suggestion is ultimately the antithesis to Krogmeier’s central argument.

In a more personal attempt to crush this legislation Krogmeier implies that should his insurance premiums increase (as if they weren’t already skyrocketing), he will drop out of the private insurance pool, wait until he has a health crisis, then stick it to the government by applying for high-risk subsidized coverage. This is indeed an option and while I wish Krogmeier continued good health, I must remind him that without health insurance, routine procedures can be quite costly, even prohibitive. Failure to receive regular preventative medical care greatly increases an individual’s risk of developing serious – and expensive – medical problems. This is a high price to pay for an opportunity to stick it to Uncle Sam and I am doubtful that many Americans would choose this path.

I also reject Krogmeier’s argument that this new sense of entitlement will create an increased burden on the nation’s budget. You see, the public already has free and unlimited access to emergency rooms if in need. The numbers of Americans being forced into this most-expensive, least-efficient form of health care has been rising steadily. As a result, Americans already pay for these individuals through increased taxes and rising health insurance premiums.

Finally, and most importantly, Rep. Markey’s constituents did indeed support this legislation. Rep. Markey was elected by a margin of more than 10 percentage points over incumbent Marilyn Musgrave in November of 2008. During the campaign, Rep. Markey ran very clearly on the position of supporting candidate Obama’s agenda and health care reform was at the top of his list. So it appears that either Krogmeier believes that his fellow 4th Congressional District voters are uninformed – or perhaps it is he who is uninformed.

It’s time to get the facts straight. Rep. Markey is doing what she can to reduce the huge national deficit left by the previous president. The Bush administration ran up the largest national debt in American history with no regard for our children or grandchildren. Moreover, Rep. Markey is going one step further. By supporting a renewable energy economy, not only is Rep. Markey reducing the national deficit and putting Americans to work, she is working hard to leave our children and grandchildren a healthy planet to reside upon.

Thank you Rep. Markey for being brave enough to do what is best for Colorado and for our country.

Kendra Appelman-Eastvedt lives in Longmont.

This opinion first appeared in the LongmontLedger

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