We appreciate and applaud the progress that has been made towards real health insurance reform. We want to work with our elected officials to make sure we win comprehensive health reform that brings down costs, improves the quality of care, and guarantees coverage for all.
The recent Senate Finance Committee vote means we are closer than ever to real health care reform. We are close, but not there yet. Working families have some serious concerns and we need to be sure our lawmakers hear from us so they can be addressed:
• A public health insurance plan option is essential to reform. It will lower premiums for everybody and save money – over $100 billion according to an independent study. It will mean real competition to break the stranglehold of big insurance companies, and be a real guarantee that coverage will always be there, no matter what. No wonder 73 percent of voters want the choice of a public health insurance option.
• Health care reform has to ease the cost burden on individuals and families, not worsen it. Americans whose health care premium costs have gone up 300 percent—while insurance company profits have gone up 1,000 percent—should not be asked to pay money we do not have. Penalties on individuals who cannot obtain coverage should not be more than what employers are required to pay.
• Employers have to pay a fair share of costs. Most of us get health care at work, but too many employers do not provide coverage. They dump their costs on the rest of us. More than $1000 of the cost of our family premiums goes to cover the uninsured because of corporate free riders. The only fair way is to require all employers to provide health coverage or contribute a truly meaningful sum to help pay for subsidies for the uninsured.
• Health care can’t be paid for by a new tax on middle class benefits. The Senate Finance Committee health reform bill slaps an enormous 40 percent excise tax starting in 2013 on plans valued at more than $8,000 for individual coverage and $21,000 for family coverage (with some adjustments). They say it will only impact the so-called “Cadillac Plans” but even the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this big new tax would soon hit 40 percent of all plans. Most likely to be hit: plans with people who are older or sicker or those who work for small employers. That’s not the change America voted for. A new tax on the middle class is unacceptable.
Please click here to find and contact your Senators and Representatives about this important issue.