I met you at a town hall meeting and was so impressed with how conscientiously you listened to every person in attendance and how sensitively you represent our district. I know you will not fail us now on this most important issue of health care reform.
I read Robert Kuttner's article stating that one half of medical bankruptcies happen to people who have insurance! I know from having lived with a catastrophic injury for decades what it is to become medically sophisticated and how when you are able bodied you are not medically sophisticated enough to know what your insurance policy will and will not pay for when catastrophic injury or disabling incidents occur. The people who think they like their insurance now are people who have most likely not had to use it very much.
The current health care insurance industry cherry picks young people who have very few medical problems and too often cancel people in their hospital beds, as soon as they develop serious conditions. These unconscionable practices have, in my mind, morally revoked these insurance companies right to participate in a new affordable health care system for all Americans. Not only can these for-profit insurers add 20 and 30% profit margins to health care costs, which the President says he's trying to contain, but they have shown in the past how much more they care about profits, CEO bonuses, and shareholders investments than they do about the health and treatment of American citizens.
In Washington, it seems as though the President and Legislators are striking compromises between hugely funded healthcare lobbies rather than representing the citizens who elected them! The President and our representatives' duty is to represent American citizens and strike compromises with our needs foremost, not well funded lobbies, that try to extort our representatives away from our interests and into theirs.
As a person with a disability, I have been on Medicare for close to 40 years and I have had marvelous care. There is absolutely no good reason to not extend Medicare to all people unless that reason is that multibillion dollar industries are exerting undue influence on our representatives who are supposed to be representing our interests as American citizens.
It is also important that all citizens participate in one system, so that we are not divided and conquered by competing companies and confusing policies that we can't be expected to understand -- just as we were by confusing mortgages. It's time the American people stopped being victims of shell games by people who are more sophisticated about money than we are. If wealthy people are in the same healthcare program as the rest of us, their sense of entitlement will constantly improve the program, because they will not stand for the kind of shabby treatment the average American, is all too sadly, learning to settle for.
I know you care, Congressman Becerra. I've seen it in action. I saw you be the last person to leave your town hall meeting until every single person had a meaningful discussion with you. You are a rare and precious representative. I know you can represent us and speak truth to power and speak truth to money. I ask you to stand up in the Congress and say the things we, the common people, feel: and I know that what I've mentioned here today is what many many people feel. The healthcare insurance and Pharma lobbies have revoked their right by their own bad actions to participate in a caring plan designed and paid for by American taxpayers.
If the President is sincere in wanting a lean healthcare system I see no place for profiteers, or even honest profit in it. If an honest profit can be made it can be made by competing with a robust public program, then people with a lot of means can buy supplemental for-profit policies, but let these for profit polices exist at the margins, but have our primary system paid for by taxes be lean and accessible at the same level of quality for all!
Most sincerely and with great admiration,
Nancy Becker Kennedy
Nancy Becker Kennedy is former vice chair and current board member of the Personal Assistance Services Council of Los Angeles County that oversees the in-home care needs of over 160,000 Seniors and People with Disabilities.