Don't Let the Insurance Industry Dictate Health Care Reform!

Some in Congress are now saying we should settle for a health reform plan pushed by the giant insurance corporations. The companies promise not to deny anyone coverage, as long as everyone is required to buy insurance from them.

That's a brilliant recipe to increase insurance company profits, and put more middle-men between you and your doctor, but it doesn't solve our health care crisis!

To really bring costs down and get everyone covered, we need meaningful change, not another "trust us" plan from the insurance industry.

Meaningful change includes real choice:
   - A publicly run coverage plan that would compete with plans offered by insurance companies, 
   - Financial help for those who truly can't afford their premiums, whether they buy a public or private plan, and
   - Tough rules to crack down on waste and abuse.

Tell Congress you expect real, affordable health insurance choices, not just what the insurance industry wants.

Subject: Give us meaningful health reform

Dear [Decision Maker],

Americans need real health care choice, not just the plan pushed by the giant insurance companies requiring everyone to buy coverage from them. We need a new type of health care market, featuring real competition between private and public insurers that will bring down costs, improve quality and help get everyone covered. Please keep the public plan option as part of health reform, and give us meaningful choices, not just what the insurance companies want.

[Your personal comments will be added here.]

Today, I pay more because doctors and hospitals must cover the costs of those people without insurance. Folks without insurance usually put off getting preventive care or early treatment for an illness. They get sicker and are harder to treat, and we all end up paying more. This is a terrible cycle we have to break, which is why we need meaningful reform.

But the answer isn't leaving my insurance choice solely to the giant insurance companies. That's just a recipe to increase the insurance industry's profits, and put more paper-pushers between me and my doctor.

Even if the insurance industry agrees to stop excluding people with pre-existing conditions, charging women more than men or sticking the seriously ill with exorbitant rates, these companies will always be in the business of making a profit by finding the best "risks."

The companies likely will still charge higher rates for getting older, or charge more depending on where a person lives. Middle class people who don't qualify for subsidies could be particularly hard hit as they get older, and ultimately be priced out of the insurance market. We risk winding up back where we started with high rates of uninsured and costs shifted to everyone else.

We need a real, meaningful solution. In addition to employer-based and insurance industry offerings, Americans need the choice of a publicly run insurance plan. All insurers, including the public plan entities offering coverage, would have to compete for customers, state clearly what they cover and what they charge, and play by the same rules and laws, so no one has an advantage. These rules would crack down on waste, fraud and abuse. For those who couldn't afford the full cost of insurance, subsidies would be available to help them pay the premiums for either a private or publicly run plan.

Because the public plan wouldn't need to spend billions on advertising and marketing, it could pressure private insurers to lower their costs. And private insurance would pressure the public plan to be more resourceful and responsive. We'd see vigorous competition, with better prices and better quality and service.

I urge you to support a public insurance option that competes with private insurance. Please don't reject this option before the country has even debated it or tried it. To reach a middle ground on health care, we can't have a system that is entirely run by the insurance industry or Washington.
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