I urge you in the strongest possible terms to reconsider your refusal to quickly take up and pass the best version of health care reform possible. While I agree that the Senate version is far inferior to the House version (which itself was far inferior to what President Obama promised on the campaign trail), it is the best version that we're going to get in the foreseeable future.
By scrapping all of the work of the past year and starting over with only those provisions "which can pass both Houses with bipartisan majorities," the Democratic party is delaying--if not outright killing--reform, laying the groundwork for yet more compromise with the more conservative elements in your party and theirs--which we both know will lead to an even worse bill than we have now--and all but ending Democratic chances in the next elections. (When a party with substantial majorities in both houses and the presidency cannot pass their signature A-#1 bill after over a year of trying, the American public isn't going to care why... They're only going to care that you failed, and vote accordingly.)
Representative Bishop, the only way forward is forward. I urge you to give it some thought, take hold of and pass what amounts to the largest and most thoroughly baked portion of the health care reform loaf that is still available to the Democrats, and get on with the business of feeding those among your constituents who are most in need of health care reform.
A bird in the hand...
Don't allow the perfect...
Please act. We need you.
I look forward to your swift change of heart and mind.
I followed up with a phone call to his office expressing as many of the same points as they'd let me, as well as calls to my senate reps, as many members of the NY House delegation as I could, and the offices of Pelosi, and Reid. While I'm not a corporation, I'm hoping that some of them will listen.
While I intended to contact my representatives about this issue anyway, I was very disappointed to discover that Congressman Bishop was among those who believe that back is the new way forward:
Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Tim Bishop (NY-1) sent the following letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi regarding a vote on the Senate version of health care reform legislation:
January 20, 2010
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
Room H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
Let me start by commending you and your colleagues on our leadership team for your remarkable work, both in shepherding landmark health care reform through the House of Representatives and in protecting so many policy positions important to the House in your negotiations with the Senate.
Now that we have reached such a crucial yet difficult juncture in our efforts to reform a broken system, I wanted to go on record on two issues of vital importance.
First, as you consider options on a way forward, I urge you not to bring the Senate bill as passed on December 24 to the floor for our consideration. The Senate bill is, in my judgment, flawed in several fundamental respects; I will cite two.
One, the excise tax on so-called “Cadillac plans” would subject a number of my constituents to this tax, including a great many who have foregone salary increases for stronger benefits. Further, the fact that it is not properly indexed will subject even more people to the tax in years to come.
Second, and as important, the Senate provision relating to FMAP would represent for New York a $5 billion swing; the House provisions with respect to FMAP would save New York $4 billion a year, while the Senate provisions would add $1 billion annually to New York’s yearly Medicaid expenses.
If the Senate bill does come to the floor for a vote, I will have no choice but to vote no.
There are many provisions of health care reform which can pass both Houses with bipartisan majorities and improve the quality of health care delivered to New Yorkers and all Americans. By taking immediate action on key insurance reforms and improving affordability, we can lay the groundwork to provide coverage for all Americans. I hope we can quickly craft legislation that incorporates these provisions.
Thank you for your attention and consideration.
MEMBER OF CONGRESS