On the American HealthCare Act of 2017

Dear Representative McClintock,

Thank you for taking the time to speak to your constituents on your point of view and voting strategy on the emerging health care plans for our nation. Thank you for holding a town hall meeting in our small community. And thank you for responding to communications through your house website. I was happily surprised to receive a personal note. These actions support our participatory process and give everyone the opportunity to have a little human interaction in a time when politics and policy have become so heated.

In my family, we take the matter and costs of health care seriously. It’s an enormous slice of our monthly budget and even while paying for coverage there is always the fear that an unexpected situation will arise and the co-pays or tapped out maximum coverage would put us in significant financial straits.

Imagine if you, for whatever reasons, find yourself without the resources to have adequate health care for your family. You may have reached the limits of your plan’s coverage. You may have mental health issues, or a physical handicap that has bankrupted your family and medicaid is the last resort. This happens to hardworking people everyday. Every family has a story and understands how an illness or condition can upset the cart of an otherwise simple existence. How would you handle this predicament?

The bill placed through the House of Representatives and now being modified behind closed doors by a very few in the Senate, would remove much of the safety net for millions of citizens who have received health care through the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Additionally there are provisions which would grant yet another tax cut to the wealthiest 2%. How can that be viewed as a step forward? Even our President has called the bill “mean”.

I respectfully would like to weigh in on the following as you speak with your colleagues in the Senate, your constituents here at home and in your thinking as we look to the future.

  1. Any bill brought forth through the Senate should be subject to hearings of the full Senate. There were over 100 hearings for the Affordable Care Act with 161 Amendments added from the Republican side of the aisle. As of today, the current bill is being written in isolation by a narrow group and will be sent for a vote without any opportunity for review.
  2. The Affordable Care Act is not a perfect law by any measurement. It was a step forward to making healthcare accessible for all Americans. Can we address the shortcomings without the fire of politics and antagonism? Taking time to understand the complexity of a broken system that costs many multiples more per citizen than other prosperous nation will take time and compromise for incremental improvement.
  3. Consider tempering the incendiary language used in comments to the media such as “bureaucratic mess” and “obvious failure”. The words only fan the flames of that which separates us.
  4. The current bill is The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “Obamacare” or “Trumpcare” is a shorthand term from the 24 hour news talking heads introduced to illuminate the chasms of our political beliefs. It’s not productive when addressing such a vital discussion.

Finally. Our government is facing a reckoning. Actions by our elected officials now will be evaluated in great detail when the next elections come along. How will you be judged? As a reasonable, thoughtful advocate for all of those you represent. We are hoping so.

Jeff Tidwell

Midpines, CA