The following is the VERBATIM response received on March 8, 2010 from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand via Senator@Gillibrand.senate.gov. This letter was in response to a letter sent to Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer on Febrary 20, 2010.
I want to point out that this letter from Senator Gillibrand is a VERBATIM COPY of the letter sent by Senator Gillibrand on September 10th, 2009.
March 8, 2010
Dear Mr. Vass,
Thank you for writing to me about the current state of our healthcare system. I appreciate your point of view and share many of your concerns. I believe that it is vital that we act now to bring forth health care reform solutions that will lower costs for those currently covered by private insurance, strengthen Medicare for seniors and allow every American to access quality and affordable health care.
Our healthcare system is currently badly broken. Over the last ten years, health care premium increases have far outpaced earned wages and forty-seven million Americans, including three million New Yorkers, are currently uninsured and an additional 25 million are underinsured. With our current economic situation, many Americans are losing their insurance coverage when they are laid off from their jobs. Even people who thought they were adequately covered with the health insurance they purchased later learn that they are not when facing a catastrophic diagnosis. This is unacceptable. No family should be one health care emergency away from bankruptcy. Congress must act to provide stability in the health insurance industry.
Quality care for the patient, affordability for families and small businesses, and patient choice are all important considerations in reforming our health care system. We need a plan in place that Americans will be able to afford, as well as allow them a true choice between competing health insurance plans. Having a public option, similar to a Medicare-for-all program, would create competition and result in lower health care costs across the board. If you are happy with the coverage you currently have, a public option would also allow you to keep it.
I have been a strong supporter of affordable, quality health insurance for all. I am committed to addressing this important issue and will work with my Senate colleagues on a bipartisan solution.
Thank you again for writing to express your concerns and I hope that you keep in touch with my office regarding future legislation and concerns you may have. For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at http://gillibrand.senate.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter.
United States Senator
My response to this letter will follow.