By Dave Palmer
Dear Representative Bentivolio,
I was shocked and dismayed to hear that you support shutting down the government over the defunding of the Affordable Care Act. I must say that I cannot fully understand the reasons why you would support eliminating a law that is already helping millions of Americans find affordable health insurance, allowing people with pre-existing conditions to be approved for health care coverage, and realizing millions of dollars of savings for college students and young adults who will be allowed to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26.
Even more egregious than casting a vote to deprive millions of Americans of health insurance is the fact that you are willing to allow the government to shut down over it. Military spouses will not receive paychecks for their significant others’ service. Veterans’ benefits will be delayed or checks not sent, and the same is true for Social Security benefits. You as a veteran should be fighting to preserve the prompt payment of military salaries and veterans benefits. If you cast a vote for government shutdown, you are sending a message to military families and senior citizens that you do not care for their needs, and would rather see them suffer financially over an ideological vote.
There is no doubt that there are problems with the Affordable Care Act. Insurance companies are racing to jack up their rates before the provision that they must use 80% of their proceeds to provide medical care for their customers, a practice which should be investigated by Congress as price gouging. The individual mandate (a Heritage Foundation idea) simply enriches the insurance companies by requiring all Americans to purchase one of their products. This problem could be fixed with a single payer system, financed by eliminating tax loopholes that give tax breaks to corporations for investing in their foreign operations, shipping jobs overseas, limiting the mortgage interest write-off to a single domicile, and slashing subsidies provided to the likes of oil companies and Wal-Mart, who obviously do not need them.
If you proceed with casting your vote against millions of Americans with such pre-existing conditions as Type I diabetes, asthma, or even autism, then I will have no choice but to urge the rest of your constituency to join me in voting against you. If that is not enough to convince them, I will also remind them that the government shutdown you and your like-minded colleagues precipitated hurts military families and veterans, and despite your service record, could not be bothered to ensure that at they could pay their bills.
I urge to reconsider your position on the Affordable Care Act. As a representative and political leader, you need to consider reaching across the aisle to create meaningful changes to the Affordable Care Act that will make the law work better, not threaten to deprive people of health insurance, earned wages, and earned benefits. Be a leader and make effective change, not a follower of inflexible ideology.