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Congressman Baird You Were Wrong

In Health Care, Politics, Social Issues, Tax on May 4, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Opinion “C” is:

(May 3rd, Baird letter below this response)

May 4th, 2010

Dear Congressman Baird,

I appreciate that you took the time to respond to those of us who do not agree with this “health care” legislation.

I doubt my email in a sea of thousands is going to change your mind, as it appears from your message below, that you strongly believe health insurance is far more important than civil liberty.  But I must write anyway.

As you may well know, the people that are opposed to the recent health care legislation are generally interested not just in health care, but in a whole host if issues. The first is Liberty.  The rest, though important, is of secondary or lesser importance.

Given that “no other issue before Congress … has received as much of (your) personal attention and effort” than Health Insurance/Health Care, one must not work hard to imagine the disappointment of those who elect officials into your type of position in order to legislate for the defense and security of this country, and not for social and welfare giveaway programs.  As such, by direct analysis of your statement, your focus was off and I and many Americans may have hoped that you remained in the health care profession as that is your stated passion.  We need people passionate about small government and a free and safe society in your current role.  I think America is finally realizing they should not vote so cavalierly for people not of this mindset.  I think medical professionals can serve this country in your role, but they have to put freedom and this country first.

In fact, based on just my limited understanding of the rise and fall of great civilizations, until political leaders realize that nothing is more important than freedom, our civil liberties and their protection, this entire country will continue it’s decline on the world stage. If you don’t think it is possible for us to lose these freedoms to the demise of this country step by step then you join thousands of dumbfounded political leaders from many major nations who lead by means of denial even with good intentions.

The principles of freedom are what we should live and die by lest we end up in the same boat as the Greeks, Romans and so many more who became complacent unto bondage.  Those super power boats sank.  Those countries exist but imagine America ending as all the rest ended up.  Do you know where Greece is heading economically?  They were once on top of the world as was America.  I researched and our freedom index puts us between 8th and 16th depending on whether you look at economics or democratic freedom.  Regardless, I don’t see us at the top.  This is more than sad and frustrating.

The bottom line is a hard fact for the emotionally weak at heart and that is: health insurance is not a right and it is not required for quality health care.  Although health care is a very important part of life, it too is not a right. For that matter, food, clothing and shelter too are not rights and are infinitely more important than health care.  We own the rights to obtain them, but not the rights to them.  I hope all people could afford the sustenance, clothing, shelter and medical care they need.  The laws of economics apply here.  You cannot erase scarcity.  You must not discourage responsibility.  And only the heart can generate generosity.

Scarcity is a real factor that will never be solved, just its affects on us made worse when using governmental artificial means of redistribution.  Responsibility is being traded for entitlements.  Generosity cannot be mandated and in fact is being thwarted by the very system you just helped establish.  The government CANNOT and WILL NOT ever be the best source of generosity.

Freedom is a right, but can be squandered through governmental entitlement bribery.

A man who I respect greatly, who studies the best of the best economists and has shown many people the light of real economic thinking for personal growth from the likes of Rothbard, Murphy, Cleveland and more, L. Carlos Lara, says:

“The idea of communal ownership as promoted under social reforms threatens our most fundamental human rights of private property and is putting our civilization in great danger.”

Mr. Lara is not who I look to for alarming statements.  When Mr. Lara makes this type of statement..the ears of hundreds maybe thousands perk up and take notice.

Mr. Baird, I understand you were under pressure by the Speaker and the White House.  I can barely understand the pressure you were under.  But you gave in.  Willingly or begrudgingly – you gave in.  In the moment of the vote, you decided that health insurance for all is more important than liberty for all.

Can you still not understand why so many Americans are thoroughly disgusted with the politicians that voted for this bill.  Many of us hold to a higher value of citizenship in this country.  We are not the people that vote based on entitlements.  But we know that there are those among us, an ever growing number, that willingly drink the bribing poison of entitlements whether it was handed out with good or evil intentions.  Many Americans don’t know what you are doing to them. Human nature is predictable.  Stalin figured it out.  Hitler figured it out.  And now the Progressives in this country have figured out how to lure people into giving up their constitutional freedoms.  They make freedom less important and the potential loss of freedom no longer a concern and then try to drum up enthusiasm for government defined solutions to government defined problems that almost seem as real as the problem they are trying to mimic.

If you cared about freedom first with regard to health care, then you would have FIRST tried to open up the markets to be far more FREE.  You would have let people be FREE to buy insurance across state lines.  You would have enabled physicians to be more FREE to practice medicine with far less fear of reprisal by patients through frivolous law suits.  You would have let the people be FREE to pay their doctors a retainer if they want to.  You would have FREED us of all of the government regulations that do nothing to reduce the cost or increase quality of care and in reality to the contrary remove the freedoms that make that happen.

I want you to know.  I served in the military in TV and Radio news.  I was in the Air Force, born at the Academy.  My Father and Mother too served in the Air Force and raised us to understand truth, justice and the AMERICAN way.  Not the SOCIALIST or FASCIST way.  I know how and where to interpret the information coming out of Washington.  This is not my second day in this country.  I care for America, because it used to be the most truly free nation in the world and we were warned it could be taken away by people who do what you have done.

I don’t forget my education on countries that subdue through social programs like these and eventually harness and then possibly kill their people.  In his eyes, Hitler did not kill a soul.  He just terminated health hazards to the main ideal population.  You see Mr. Baird, freedom would have solved the Hitler problem, but subjective reasoning concerning the need for health care and other “needs” by a nanny state propelled it.  Everyone there thought all people deserved health care.  Well they all got it.  And 6 million of them really got it.

The US Government does kill already when it funds abortion as a matter of social convenience while it discourages responsibility.  Next it will be elderly for the same reason.  Then it will be handicapped for the same reason.  Slippery slopes don’t look slippery to the natural human eye.  That is how people fall down them in the first place. It requires a keen eye for patterns in history and understandings of human action.  Most leaders on slippery slopes make these problems worse thinking they are doing their people a favor.  Please – DON’T DO US ANY MORE FAVORS!

The guidepost to ensure we stay a strong country is the question of LIBERTY NOT HEALTH INSURANCE or even HEALTH CARE.  You and your fellow democrats should have taken the time to ask some more questions about the constitutionality of fining or taxing people for not buying what the government wants them to buy.  Would Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams and Ben Franklin cast a 3 for 3 vote on this based on their record?  You and I know, that they opted for smaller government and allowed the people of this country to be free to do OR not do as they want OR need as long as they don’t break the primary laws of this land which were adopted by the founding fathers and crafted from the Ten Commandments.

I understand that Mr. Obama sees the Constitution generally as “negative liberties” and the “constitution does not say what the state government or the federal government must do on your behalf” i.e. re-distributive methods of “economic justice”. This is all a scheme to grab voters in general by socialist minded leaders.  You were complicit or at least a pawn.  It is shameful and rediculous in  the same measure.

I believe when more of this country does finally realize the scam that was played by our politicians, you and the others will be held to account eventually by courts of this land, certainly by the court of public opinion and if not then at least by a Higher court for stealing from some to give to others by “legal” means which is a major erosion of liberty.

I pray God goes easy on you and your fellow thieving freedom obstructionists.  As for the voters, I hope they bombard the polls and place into office those who will not only undo what you and others have done in this generation, but also undo the strangleholds on freedom since 1913 and some even before.

I hope one day that, to reconcile with the majority of Americans you just ignored and instead chose to do what you, Nancy, Harry and Obama wanted, you recant and tell everyone that you allowed the pressure of Washington to push you beyond reason and that given a second attempt you would vote for freedom above all, for all, thereby instructing future politicians not to make your same or similar mistakes no matter the cost.  This is a noble defense for the freedom of all current and future Americans. And it is a respect for those who paid the price to obtain it for us.

I am sorry for the harshest of letters, but you must understand, this, the bailouts and all of the other government dealings outside of the constitutional limits are severely damaging this country, it’s economic strength and the spirit of all that is good in this land, even if it is laced with good intentions.  You, Mr. Baird were wrong; awfully wrong to play a role in removing even more of our freedoms.



Vancouver, Wa.

(above is my response to this below by Congressman Baird of Washington)

May 3, 2010

Dear Mr. C:

Thank you for contacting me about health reform. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

There was no question in my mind that our current health care system could not be sustained and needed to be improved. Because of my background as a health care professional, working for more than twenty years before entering Congress, having focused extensively on health care during my time in Congress, as a parent of two young children, and as someone who has listened to countless constituents and groups from across the professional, patient and political spectrum, there is no other issue before Congress that has received as much of my personal attention and effort.

Providing health care is not a political issue for me, it was my chosen profession, it is something I feel deeply about, and it is a service to which I have dedicated much of my life.

Recognizing the urgent need for reform, I did everything I possibly could to evaluate the merits of the proposals before me. I read the entire House and Senate bills, plus the reconciliation legislation. I studied the Congressional Budget Office analyses of both bills plus the reconciliation package. I read reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and numerous others. At my specific request, the Democratic caucus held an unprecedented number of meetings with policy and legislative experts to go over in detail the text of ! the legislation and alternatives.

Beyond studying the legislation put forward by the Democrats in Congress, I also made a sincere and earnest effort to read and evaluate criticism of that legislation and consider alternative proposals, including proposals from members of both major political parties and independent groups. I also put forward my own proposal for comprehensive health care reform.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was not a perfect bill when it came to the House floor for a final vote on March 21. But the passage of the bill will make some key improvements over our unsustainable status quo:

First, and importantly, the final bill contains mechanisms to eventually lower health care costs to individuals, business, and government. These include core changes to Medicare compensation practices; real competition and choice of plans through a health insurance exchange; procedures to allow cross-state insurance purchases; evidence based quality of care guidelines to reduce treatment errors and hospital acquired infections; tangible and proven programs to seriously tackle fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid; plus multiple other mechanisms long championed by health care economists and practitioners.

Second, people who already have insurance will no longer live in fear that if they get sick or lose their jobs they will lose their coverage. Discrimination against pre-existing conditions and rescissions of existing policies will end if this bill becomes law. Having met numerous individuals and families whose lives were turned upside down because of illness and loss of coverage, and having treated patients who delayed needed health care because they had lost their insurance, I cannot overstate how important this is.

Third, in contrast to prior legislation, including previous expansions of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D, which were not paid for and added more than a trillion dollars of deficit spending, this legislation will be paid for and does not add to the deficit. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next two decades the Affordable Care Act will lower the Federal debt by more than one trillion dollars relative to current law. I recognize fully that this CBO estimate itself contains a number of shortcomings, among them excluding the costs of the Sustainable Growth Rate fix. I believe it is imperative that these concerns be addressed and at the end of this document I offer some suggestions for how to do this.

Fourth, small businesses will immediately have assistance to help provide insurance for their employees and will have access to far more choice and competition when the exchange is created. At the same time, most small businesses will be exempt from employer mandates, and those with existing health insurance will be able to keep their insurance as is if they choose to do so.

Fifth, young people, who have been particularly affected by the economic downturn, will immediately be able to stay on their parents’ health plans long enough to give them time to obtain employment and insurance on their own.

Sixth, tens of millions of hard working American citizens who cannot afford health care or who lost their insurance when they lost their jobs will soon be able to purchase a basic policy with support commensurate to their needs. This will not only improve their own health and economic productivity, it will reduce costly trips to the emergency rooms, alleviate the costs of uncompensated care that currently threatens to bankrupt many hospitals, and help detect and treat illnesses in their early stages before they become more costly and more lethal.

Seventh, seniors who face unexpected and unaffordable costs for prescription drug coverage will now have the so-called “donut hole” in coverage under Medicare part D closed through a combination of additional assistance and reduction in pharmaceutical costs. Again, this increased coverage is paid for in this bill rather than adding to the deficit.

Eighth, critical shortages in health care professionals, particularly general practitioners, nurses and certain high need specialists will be reduced through education assistance and other mechanisms.

Ninth, key reforms of the insurance industry will help rein in exorbitant premium increases and anti-competitive practices.

Tenth, long standing inequities in compensation rates that have disadvantaged our Northwest region and other parts of the country will finally begin to be corrected, in the short term through adjustments to hospital and provider payments, and in the longer term through a more comprehensive review and overhaul of how payment rates are set. This is something I have worked especially hard on since before I was elected to Congress and throughout the current process.

Having identified some of the positive features of the Affordable Care Act, there are many things I would have liked to change about the legislation:

Foremost among these is the sheer complexity of the bill. This complexity was not created by the legislation itself but is the result of the need to modify so many pre-existing programs at the state and federal level. Again, I would have much preferred that we replace these with something much simpler, but that is not likely to happen in the near future regardless of which party is in the majority.

Consistent with legislation I have previously introduced, I would also have preferred more specific and comprehensive reforms of the medical liability system. Although there are provisions in the bill which I support to promote alternatives to litigation, a more thorough approach that protects patient’s rights, promotes quality of care, and reduces the numbers and costs of lawsuits would add substantially to the savings in health care costs across all programs.

A third change would be to accurately account for and pay for the “Sustainable Growth Rate” fix in Medicare, which is estimated to cost more than $200 billion over the next ten years. I would recommend reducing the potential provider payment reduction by some degree, but not entirely, while at the same time increasing tax revenues to pay for any fix without increasing the deficit. In addition, and I recognize this will not be politically popular, we should give greater attention to basing not only health care but all entitlements on a needs basis. If the alternative to this is passing more deficit and debt on to our children, I believe the more responsible choice is needs adjustment

Fourth, and again politically difficult, I believe the revenues generated in the legislation fall too heavily on incomes over $250,000. I would rather have seen the revenue burden distributed more broadly on a progressive scale, with more modest adjustments also applied among those making more than $100,000 per year and on up. Broader distribution of revenue increases would have helped further reduce the deficit while more evenly sharing in the responsibility across the population.

After weighing these positives and the negatives, and considering that the status quo was unsustainable, I voted in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act certainly does not solve all of the problems of improving health care, lowering costs, and reducing the deficit. We must continue to work for further improvements in each of these areas and I am committed to doing so. But on balance, I believe this legislation will be much better than what exists today, and I believe it represents a number of improvements in both content and process over the legislation originally passed by the House.

I have a deep and personal appreciation for the fact that you and so many others have written to me to express your opinions on this vital topic. The fact that so many have taken the time to do so is itself a testimony to both the importance of this issue and the vibrancy of our republic. I am grateful for your input and have weighed it carefully and thoughtfully as I considered this important, complex and difficult matter.


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