Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Action alert on healthcare reform for progressives in WA-03 and WA-09

Editor's Note: This post has been updated to include Congressman Adam Smith of Washington's 9th Congressional District in the call to action.

On Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote on HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. This evening, we received an urgent message from the Thurston County Democrats regarding Congressman Brian Baird, Congressman Adam Smith and their positions on the bill (or lack thereof).

Congressman Baird's office is saying that he hasn't made up his mind on how he is going to vote, despite the fact that there are phone banks set up in Thurston County and the 3rd Congressional District every day of the week, with constituents calling urging support for health care reform with a robust public option.

So, this is a call to action for all of our readers in Congressman Brian Baird's district. Now is the time to make a phone call and ask Congressman Baird to vote for HR 3962. Explain to the Congressman's staff why you believe that access to affordable, quality health care is a right for all Americans and express your support for a robust public option. Be polite, but be firm.

We're told that as of this hour, Congressman Baird's office voice mail in Washington, D.C. is full and you can't leave a message. So if you call tonight, please call Olympia or Vancouver. If the voice mail boxes are full, please call Washington, D.C. in the morning when staff are there to take messages directly to the Congressman. Here are the phone numbers:
Washington D.C. - (202) 225-3536
Olympia - (360) 352-9768
Vancouver - (360) 695-6292
It has also come to our attention that Congressman Adam Smith has not decided which way he is going to vote. So, if you live in the 9th District, please give one of Congressman Smith's offices a call. Here are his office phone numbers:
Washington D.C. - (202) 225-8901
Tacoma - (253) 593-6600
Once you have made your phone call, please ask as many of your friends and neighbors who live in the 3rd or 9th as you can to make a phone call of their own, or cut and paste this post into an e-mail and send it to them.

We can't allow Congressman Baird or Congressman Smith to take a vote on Saturday without hearing from constituents on this most important issue. Let's keep the momentum from Tuesday's election going and ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care.


Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer said...

For that matter people need to contact Congressman Reichert as well! He is under the illusion that his constituents want him to vote against this bill. Well people need to tell him we want him to vote for it.

November 6, 2009 12:39 PM  
Blogger Martha Koester said...

Frankly, I don't see what is the slightest bit progressive about enshrining age discrimination in "reform"

The mandatory (and outrageously expensive) insurance in current proposals amounts to legislatively enacting a permanent jobless recession/recovery. That is because huge amounts of everyone's otherwise discretionary income will be diverted from buying real products to subsidize a totally unproductive part of the economy.

What I will be required to pay will wipe out most of my discretionary income, and there are millions in the same situation. I know because I've used the Kaiser Family Foundation online calculator to calculate $450/month that still leaves me with 30% of medical expenses to pay. That is with the subsidy and counting the unconscionable age discrimination as well. (After the election, I'll be actively investigating the possibility of a lawsuit against age rating under civil rights legislation.)

We are talking 8-12% of income for premiums alone, not even counting co-pays and deductibles. This is an unmitigated disaster for an economy consisting of 70% consumer spending. The subsidies reducing the cost for those lower on the income scale will come from money that could have gone to the productive economy of rebuilding our infrastructure or creating new green collar jobs. And that is assuming that the subsidies don't get cut—some versions of the legislation says that they will if national deficit targets are not met.

Congress and the president seem almost to be from another planet when they talk about "affordable choices." To them it seems to mean that if income minus food minus rent/mortage/utilities minus transportation minus health insurance costs equals a number slightly greater than zero--VOILA! Affordability! I'm not going to be homeless or starve, and may even be able to pay medical bills. I just won't be buying much else.

What this means for the economy at large is that more of the businesses dealing in non-essentials like bookstores, restaurants, etc. that I patronize are more likely to close. I have had to become more frugal during retirement, and that means we eat out once or twice a month, as opposed to once or twice a week when I was working. I'm letting magazine subscriptions run out and buying fewer books. Political donations have been cut in half. Already two restaurants where we used to eat have gone down. Elliott Bay Books will be moving from Pioneer Square in Seattle, and is in serious financial trouble. This is a store that was founded during a major recession in 1973.

When I start getting nailed for $450/month, plus the $60 for my husband’s Medicare Part B, a lot of things are going to end. Buying any books or magazines at all. Eating out. No online clothing shopping, just St. Vinnies and the like. Get rid of the CREDO cell phone. No political contributions. Drastically reduced charitable donations. I will no longer be able to offer much financial support to the Cemcoratic Party, not because of disagreement about this one issue, but simply because the money will no longer be there. Since my husband is handy at electronics and programming, we'll probably stay connected to cyberspace, but if something craps out it will get repaired with stuff on hand or other people's cast-offs or we do without.

Multiply this by a few tens of millions for a picture of the "new normal" after insurance "reform."

November 6, 2009 3:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home