Forward Kenosha
Promoting Peace & Ensuring Dignity

February Town Hall: Bill O'Connor

While I have many concerns, tonight I will address health care.  Fix systems in place that are working with varying degrees of success, but don't tear them down and give them to the free market.

Medicare: A voucher system for our seniors is a recipe for disaster. It will bring large insurers into play, allowing for co-pays and deductibles and premiums that will be beyond the abilities of 80 and 90-year-olds to compute. 97% of medicare payments go to health care, 3% to administrative costs. Keep the program intact and work to save money on the drugs, for which we overpay. How would a voucher improve this cost efficient system?

VA Health Care: I receive my healthcare from the VA due to a service connected disability. I am zero cost to the VA as are many like me. My private insurance reimbursed the VA  for years. Now Medicare reimburses them. Medicare, a program that into which I have contributed to since 1966. Medicare is not an entitlement. I have paid this insurance for 51 years and only last year began using the benefits I have earned.

Privatizing this is not like other issues such as privatizing cooks in the military. VA Drs know the specific issues of veterans and are eager to treat them. Agent Orange, Camp LeJeune water contamination, PTSD, The Iraq burning pits are not foreign to VA health professionals. Ask a non-VA Dr about Agent Orange induced Ischemic heart disease and he will have a blank stare. The VA has something called  A Million Veteran Program. Are you familiar with it? It began in 2011 and is attempting to enroll 1 million veterans to study the effects of military service on veterans and families. Privatize VA healthcare or go to the beloved voucher system and you will have divorced yourself from programs like this which are designed for those who took an oath.

It is a financially efficient system with the sole purpose of serving the veterans you have voted to send the men and women of this country to  war. Why would you privatize it? How would privatization improve it?

The ACA: America ranks 37th in the world in quality of health care according to The World Health organization. I worked on The ACA before it was law. This was never going to be perfect. But you are discovering that people  see its' benefits. You, Congressman Ryan, have cheered the loudest for "Repeal and Replace", even managing to get a bill on President Obama's desk.  A complete waste of legislative time, knowing he would veto it. I ask, do not replace it. Work within the framework, protect individuals from those who make healthcare a profit making gold mine my for investors. Can you see the congress working within the framework and if not, when will the replacement be available?

I wrote this on Thursday. On late Friday, you “leaked” your plan for the ACA .You answered my question. No you will not work within the framework of The ACA. Eliminate the individual mandate, eliminate the penalty, possibly offer subsidies to individuals based on age and ignore the poor. So the last question is answered. You have no replacement, just repeal. You care only about cost and nothing about compassion. Compassion for the millions of your fellow citizens with health issues that become financial issues.

Thank you,
Bill O'Connor