EDIT: I’ve attached the form letter my representative sent back to the end of this message. I think it’s clear she didn’t read my message.
So the short-sighted, cringeworthy, buzzword fueled, progress-neutering vote to repeal the ACA just went through the House with a narrow 217–213 vote. I moved late last year after the 2016 vote, but the Representative I voted for while I lived at my old residence, John Katko, voted ‘no’ for the bill. I thank him for that, because he was being realistic:
Rep. Katko (R — NY 24):
“Since I came to Congress, I have maintained that any repeal bill must be accompanied by a full replacement…”
My current Representative, Claudia Tenney (R — NY 22), pretty much copy/pasted the form letter she sends me every time I call or send an email asking her to vote ‘no’ on one of these atrocities. It’s filled with half-truths, falsehoods, and a sprinkle of fake hope as it calls out maintaining ACA protections as some sort of boon for the people in her district. If you want to read the rest of her response, catch it here.
I will give her props for cosponsoring an amendment that would make politicians retain the same coverages. That said, it wasn’t attached to the bill (if I’m wrong, feel free to point it out and I’ll update this).
Further, the bill didn’t get a CBO score, which projects costs as well as affect on citizenry for the targeted populace.
People may not believe me, but I tend toward fiscal conservatism, but my focus is on using federal funds to enhance the lives of the country as a whole in order to establish a baseline quality of living. The very idea that you would vote for such a far-reaching bill when the last one failed miserably in that department is insane, especially since worried Representatives ended up requiring a temporary $8 billion dollar funding for existing expanded Medicare programs.
They really need to go back and look at what they’re trying to accomplish and work out their chicken/egg problem.
We spend the most, per capita, on health care in the world. And that’s after the ACA. Before it wasn’t better. We were second in 1995 after Switzerland and they have universal health care.
There is something wrong here, but it’s not in attempts to get to Universal Healthcare in America.
If the data shows anything, it shows that it’s fiscally irresponsible not to pursue Universal Healthcare as there are obvious cost benefits for the US’s bottom line.
Maybe if we banned lobbying by large corporations **cough**pharmaceuticals/insurance companies/oil**cough** then we could start making some legit informed decisions rather than getting politicians who vote with their campaign donors than their constituents.
Letter to my Representative: Rep. Tenney
To wrap this up, I wrote the following letter to my Representative to express my overall feelings on this subject.
Dear Representative Tenney,
I’m disappointed that despite our attempts to convince you this is bad legislation, you voted for it.
I’m disappointed that instead of taking an actual compromise attitude and fix the in place legislation that is ACA, you decided to vote against it and for a plan that has no substance.
I’m disappointed that you voted for a bill that provides the coverage this area needs on a temporary basis — that expires in 2020 — so that you could use it as a talking point for your “dedication to your constituents”.
Mostly, I’m sorry that this type of disregard for the long term health and well being of your constituents in favor of short term gain and huge tax reductions for the rich means that I can’t trust you.
I can’t trust you with my vote, my life, or my well being. I’m told you’re a good person by a few of my friends who know you, but so far I haven’t seen that.
I hope you enjoyed this small victory. I will be rallying as many people in our district against you for your re-election campaign using the facts of this bill as fuel for that fire.
Mike Wyant, Jr.
Claudia Tenney’s Form Letter Response:
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act. It is a privilege to represent the 22nd Congressional District and I am eager to work on your behalf to bring practical and principled change to Washington. As always, I welcome your feedback and look forward to addressing your concerns.
I voted for the American Health Care Act, which passed the House on May 4, 2017. Upstate New Yorkers deserve health care options that empower them, their families and their doctors while preserving coverage protections and peace of mind. The American Health Care Act is the first step in ensuring this level of access at a far more affordable cost than exists now.
Prior to the enactment of Obamacare in 2010, it was clear that we needed to reform our health care system. Health care costs were rising faster than individual incomes and too many Americans were being left behind. If they could afford adequate coverage at all, many were stuck with expensive plans that failed to meet their needs. As a percentage of average median income, families were spending roughly 8.4 percent of their yearly income on premium and deductible contributions.
Obamacare has not addressed these issues or expanded access at a lower cost. Under Obamacare, American families are spending a larger share of their income on premiums and deductibles than ever before. In 2015, it is estimated that health care expenses related to premium contributions and deductibles exceeded 10 percent of the average median income.
It is not hard to see why: both premiums and deductibles have soared. The average premium for an employer-sponsored family plan is up by 20 percent from 2011, to $18,142. Unfortunately for consumers, deductibles are also rising. On average, individuals with employer-based coverage have seen their deductibles increase by 49 percent since 2011. Where high-deductible plans were once the exception, covering about 18 percent of employees in 2008, now more than 50 percent of American workers have them. Small businesses have experienced this increase most acutely, with 65 percent of their employees paying an average of $2,069 each year just to meet their deductibles.
Premiums and deductibles have also risen on the exchanges, which have fewer options for individuals to select from each year. In 2017, premiums for the most frequently purchased midlevel plans are set to jump by 25 percent in 21 states. What’s more, a third of counties in the country will have only one insurance company offering plans on the exchange in 2017.
The American Health Care Act is the first step in a comprehensive process to bring choice, affordability, and quality back to health care. The bill eliminates the individual and employer mandates, which have forced too many Americans to purchase plans they do not want and raised operation costs for small businesses across the 22nd District. The bill also eliminates a range of onerous taxes that were imposed by Obamacare on everything from medical device manufacturers, health insurance companies, and over-the-counter medications. These taxes have done little other than increase costs for consumers.
While eliminating overreaching mandates and harmful taxes, the bill keeps in place advanceable tax credits to assist Americans with incomes under $75,000 in purchasing health insurance. Amid concerns I raised that such tax credits were not adequate to provide meaningful assistance to older Americans, an additional $90 billion was set aside for this purpose. To spur competition and choice in the individual insurance market, the legislation ultimately allows Americans the flexibility and freedom to use their tax credits to purchase a policy of their choosing. Rather than requiring Americans to use credits on government mandated-exchanges, many of which are on the brink of collapse with few options, this bill empowers consumers to shop around.
The legislation reigns in Obamacare’s costly and unstainable 90 percent Medicaid match in 2020, while ensuring that those already benefiting from it are not impacted so long as they remain on the program. After 2020, New York can continue to enroll individuals on Medicaid as it always has but will be reimbursed based on a new per capita formula, which will increase over time as the cost of providing coverage rises. To ensure that these increases are enough to cover the disabled and elderly, I fought for changes to the per capita formula that would provide additional assistance based on the number of elderly and disabled receiving care. I was pleased to see that House leadership made these changes, which will provide an estimated $41 billion more in assistance for states to provide care to disabled and elderly Medicaid populations.
This bill also maintains many of the bipartisan provisions of Obamacare that garnered broad support. These include pre-existing coverage requirements and the option of allowing dependents to stay on their parents plan until age 26. Although states have the flexibility to opt out of some of these provisions after implementing high-risk pools, I am confident New York will continue to uphold these protections. Moreover, I also voted for a bill, H.R. 2192, which clarifies that members of Congress and their staffs will not be exempt from the bill’s provisions.
To bring tangible tax relief to upstate New York taxpayers for the first time in a generation, I also successfully fought for the inclusion of the Collins-Faso amendment in this final bill. This amendment would relieve Upstate counties of Albany’s egregious and burdensome Medicaid property tax mandate, which costs taxpayers in the 22nd District more than $160 million each year and drives up our local taxes. For decades, Albany has forced Upstate counties to bear a disproportionally large share of the state’s Medicaid budget. In 2015, this share amounted to $7.5 billion — seven times more than any other states’ counties contribute. This has caused our property taxes to soar and diverts local money to Albany to subsidize the government’s runaway spending.
The final bill is not perfect and there is far more work to be done to get our nation’s health care system to where it should be. By working through the regulatory and legislative processes, we will continue to improve upon this bill and implement new reforms to increase access to high quality health care services at a price that is truly affordable. Throughout this process, I will continue to listen to the concerns of my constituency and will bring your feedback to Congress.
Although we may not always agree, I value your feedback and hope you will continue to share your views with me on issues that are important to you. I encourage you to visit www.tenney.house.govto sign up for my weekly newsletter. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on my work in Congress and around the district.
Thank you again for contacting my office. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I or my staff can be of service to you.
Member of Congress