An Open Letter to our U.S. Senators

Dear U.S. Senator (especially those in Georgia),

I would like for you to take time to consider casting your vote affirming health-care reform in the United States Senate.  It is both a historic and significant bill that will, according to my research, lower costs for middle-class families and allow people to get coverage without being denied based on pre-existing conditions.   As a Christian, I feel passionate about healthcare reform because it is one of many platforms that allows me to advance a pro-life ethic I believe Jesus and the Bible promote.

Healthcare reform is also important to my family.  My father is a small-business owner (has been since he was 21) and is struggling to save for retirement (he lost a small nest egg due to Enron’s collapse), but pays over $12,000 a year for health insurance (for him and my mother).  He is what you would consider middle-class and is a sole employee in his business; if he gets sick his business will suffer.

Additionally, if my  father were to pass away, my mother will not be able to afford healthcare whatsoever; nor is she of eligible age for medicare.

When we talk of healthcare reform, my father expresses that he does not want free health insurance–that would undermine his sense of dignity, his love for country, and his work ethic. But Dad cannot afford to retire because of the high cost of healthcare.

I’ve heard people say that healthcare reform will limit people’s right to choose their health options, but just several months ago when my father tried to get his insurance company to pay for medication he needed for his heart, the insurance company denied coverage.  According to his insurance provider, the medicine is considered “experimental,” whatever that means.   That denied my father’s doctor the freedom to treat Dad with the best care available.  Mind you, despite this denial, my father still pays on his premiums every month.

Luckily, and much to my father’s relief, the bill the House recently passed does NOT call for a “free” health plan like that of Britain or Canada.  On the contrary, the  bill calls for reform that will simply bring competition to the market by providing a public option that contains a larger pool of consumers to drive down costs.  A simple, no-brainer plan.

This is similar to what my wife–a public school teacher–gets through the state. Her monthly premium is a little over $300.00 for the FOUR of us because there is a larger pool of healthcare consumers, which in turn drives down costs.  We have plenty of power to decide who cares for us (the state of Georgia has never intervened in our healthcare decisions), and our health care is both timely and of high quality.

I hope that reform passes in the Senate so that my father, and the millions like him, can have a similar plan to that of our family, that he may maintain his sense of dignity and work ethic, and at least cut his healthcare costs by a fraction (even 20% will help).

(Oh, Did I mention that Dad does not smoke, have any pre-existing conditions, and [despite a temporary heart condition last year] is healthy as an ox?  But he still has to pay those exorbitant, out-of-control prices. It makes no sense. )

Passing reform is a natural fit in a nation that prides itself on “family values.”   Like regulating automobile safety standards–which the government had to impose–Healthcare reform is something that only a government such as ours can pull off. It is both a moral necessity and a just cause.

Blessings,

Rev. Joe LaGuardia

Conyers, Georgia

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