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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Repost of the letter I sent to the President

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Today I begin the fight for my Mom's life

I wrote a letter to the President today to support health care reform. Below is the letter I sent him and will send to Congress and the media. I will add their respones as I get them. I welcome all comments and serious debate on this issue. For now I will let the letter speak for itself.

August 23rd, 2009

RE: Healthcare Reform and my Mom

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to you today on behalf of my 60 year old mother. She has had chronic health problems since I can remember. When I was seven she had a big part of her intestines removed and replaced with plastic. She was in the hospital for months, my brother and I thought she would never come back home. They let us see her for Christmas, because as we found out later the doctors did not think she would live. The doctors did not give her a good prognosis for the future but she has continued to defy the odds. She currently has kidney disease in both kidneys, heart disease, degenerative rheumatoid arthritis, bouts of gout, and problems controlling her potassium levels.

After working in the healthcare and food service industry for 40 years her body gave out on her and she had to file for disability. She was awarded SSDI just a few months ago. She didn't want to quit work, but she had no choice, she can't stand or sit for very long with out pain and discomfort. During the last few years my mother tried to get insurance but was always denied because of her preexisting conditions, or they would offer a package she could not afford and would only cover new problems. As she spent more and more money with test, and medication she eventually had to stop working and rely on sliding scale clinics. She still does not qualify for Medicare due to time restrictions.
Recently her potassium levels reached near lethal levels, she needed to get many test, but because she has no insurance and is on a limited income she could not get the test. One of the doctors suggested a colonoscopy but looked in her chart and said, “I see you have no insurance the test is very expensive, I sure hope the President can get this healthcare reform passed soon.” My mother agreed with him, but told him that she can only do things as needed and then only if she can get the money.
I guess this is what I am getting to, when I hear people talk about how great our current private system is, then talk about healthcare reform with death panels, people dying because they are waiting, no choices, I just get confused. Are they talking about our current system that is allowing people to languish and die because they can't get coverage and just changed the word private to reform. I know I am rambling but I am very upset with the mean spirited people who want to kill reform with such ignorance. I want to ask them why they are killing my Mom now. Because that is what will happen with out reform, she will continue to get sicker and sicker and die before her time.

I plan to copy this letter to the Congress as well as the media. I can longer sit back and listen to such ignorance and not tell my Mother's story if only briefly and please ask your opponents how many more people have to suffer in the name of politics? We need to bring compassion back to America and stop the hate.

Sincerely,


Corey L. Rogers

Friday, September 18, 2009

Response from Senator Bob Casey

Dear Mr. Rogers:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about health care reform. I appreciate hearing from all Pennsylvanians about the issues that matter most to them.

We cannot afford to wait any longer to reform America’s health care system. As a member of the United States Senate and of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I am working with my colleagues and with President Obama to enact meaningful health care reform, with the goal of providing every American with access to high quality, affordable health care. Ensuring the unique health needs of children are met will be a specific priority of mine in health care reform. Many of my constituents have contacted me to share their opinions on a wide range of potential health care reform options. I welcome your comments and suggestions on this important issue.

On July 15, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) successfully reported out our bill, the Affordable Health Choices Act, to reform the Nation’s healthcare system. At its core, this landmark bill provides additional choices for Americans who need health insurance, while maintaining health insurance options that currently exist and that individuals may wish to keep.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Affordable Health Choices Act will cost $611 billion over the next ten years. Our current system is not sustainable and waiting to act or doing nothing will only make the problems worse. If we do not act, more people will lose coverage. As costs increase, the quality of care will diminish and the ballooning costs incurred by the government and business will endanger America’s fiscal health. The Affordable Health Choices Act will reduce costs by emphasizing prevention, cutting waste and modernizing the health care system through quality information technology.

The Affordable Health Choices Act also promotes prevention by giving Americans the information they need to take charge of their own health, such as information on early screening for heart disease, cancer and depression and information on healthy nutrition. The Affordable Health Choices Act takes strong steps to improve America’s healthcare workforce, making sound investments in training the doctors, nurses, and other health professionals who will serve the needs of patients in the years to come and ensuring that patients’ care is better coordinated so they see the right doctors, nurses and other health practitioners to address their individual health needs.

To address the need for more choices for Americans, The Affordable Health Choices Act includes a public health insurance option called the Community Health Insurance Plan. This plan will be one of many plans available to individuals through the Affordable Health Benefit Gateways that will be established in each state. These gateways build on the success of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), which provides a range of different health plans from which to choose to federal employees including civilian employees, Members of Congress and their staffs, retirees and their families. The Community Health Insurance Plan will be required to comply with the same rules governing private plans offered through the health insurance gateways, and will comply with the same insurance regulations as private insurers.

The Committee on Finance, of which I am not a member, has jurisdiction over other areas of health care reform and is in the process of developing its own draft legislation. This jurisdiction includes many of the options being discussed to finance health care reform such as Medicare payment reforms and taxing health benefits, sugary drinks or alcohol. Some of the most significant provisions regarding children also fall under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Finance, such as the Medicaid and CHIP programs. After the Committee on Finance has finished developing and considering its health care reform legislation, the bill will be merged with the Affordable Health Choices Act for consideration by the full Senate later this year. I will be examining carefully both the bill that the Committee on Finance develops and the merged bill that the full Senate will consider for their impact on health care for children, particularly our most vulnerable children, as we engage in the continuation of this debate in the weeks ahead.

For more information about the health care reform legislation Congress is considering, and to read the text and summaries of the bills, please visit my blog at http://casey.senate.gov/about/blog/post.cfm?pl=Health_Care_Reform:_The_Time_Is_Now.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

If you have access to the Internet, I encourage you to visit my web site, http://casey.senate.gov. I invite you to use this online office as a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.



Sincerely,
Bob Casey
United States Senator

Response from Senator Patty Murray

Dear Corey,

I want to thank you for contacting my office in the past to share your thoughts and concerns on the issues that are important to you. I am committed to staying in touch with my constituents, particularly at this critical time for our nation when major economic decisions are being made in Washington, D.C. that affect you and your family.

One way that I work to keep the lines of communication open is to send out a weekly e-newsletter of what I am working on to help the people of our state. Each week, I send out an e-mail that contains information on legislation, photos, video and audio clips and links to additional news and information important to the people of Washington state. My hope is that you will be able to use this update to get a better sense of the work that I'm doing and the vital Washington state issues that are being debated and discussed 2,500 miles away. Below is our current e-newsletter.

Thanks again for contacting my office and I hope you enjoy this update.

Sincerely,


Patty



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September 15, 2009

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A Strong Case for Health Care Reform

Last Wednesday, President Obama stated clearly what American families and businesses know all too well, our current health care system is simply unsustainable.

The reform we are working towards will provide stability and choice to families and businesses. It will mean lower costs, stable and portable coverage and the promise that if you get sick, have a pre-existing condition or lose your job, you will not lose your health care. I look forward to working with the President and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass meaningful reform that will lower costs, increase choice and provide stability to America’s families and businesses this year. – Details
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AEROSPACE: WTO Rules that Launch Aid is an Illegal Subsidy


Last week, the World Trade Organization made clear that for decades the European Union has been providing the European aerospace company Airbus with illegal subsidies that have created an uneven playing field for Boeing and cost American jobs. Following the ruling, I urged the EU and Airbus to heed the WTO’s ruling and to immediately put a stop to plans to provide any further illegal subsidies in the form of “launch aid.” The WTO’s decision also raises major questions for the U.S. Department of Defense as it prepares to solicit bids to build the next generation of aerial refueling tankers. – Details
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Remembering Senator Ted Kennedy

Last week on the Senate floor, I delivered a speech honoring and remembering my friend and mentor Senator Edward Kennedy. I served with Senator Kennedy for 17 years in the Senate including many years as a senior member of his Committee. In my speech, I talked about fighting for legislation together that allows family to spend time with sick loved ones, the personal touch he brought to the business of politics, and the unique gift he had to persevere over tragedy. I also called on my colleagues to help continue Senator Kennedy’s work to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.



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Listen to my speech
Watch my speech



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DEFENSE: Millions in Job-Creating Spending for Washington State



On Wednesday, I announced that I have included $63 million in federal defense work for Washington state companies in the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill. This spending will create good jobs in the state and help our armed forces get the cutting-edge military equipment they need and deserve. The spending I have included in this bill will provide a critical boost to the economy, and it will make a strong investment in research, technology, and innovation in Washington state.



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“Bremerton’s Dimension4 in Line for Defense Funds” – The Kitsap Sun



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Commemorating the Attacks of September 11th



This year, for the first time, 9/11 was been designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance. The mission of the day was to honor the victims of 9/11 and those who rose to service in response to the attacks by encouraging everyone to pledge to voluntarily perform at least one good deed, or another service activity on 9/11 each year. I cannot think of a better way to honor the memory of those who were lost than by taking a moment to remember, and then performing a good deed or act of service. September 11th was not just a day of national loss, but of personal loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has lost a friend or loved one.



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Listen to a speech I delivered commemorating the anniversary





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Response from Senator Claire McCaskill

September 16, 2009

Dear Mr. Rogers,

Thank you for contacting me regarding our health care system. I appreciate your comments and welcome the opportunity to respond.

There is no denying that our health care system is in dire need of reform. The soaring cost of medical care is crippling our economy, bankrupting our nation's families, and becoming an unsustainable financial burden for American employers. In the last eight years, health care premiums have grown four times faster than wages, and there are nearly 46 million uninsured Americans - the majority of whom are employed. It's tragic that in a country of great wealth like ours so many of our fellow Americans don't have access to care; and that the uninsured are suffering from avoidable illnesses and receiving expensive medical care too late, the cost of which gets passed onto the rest of us.

I am pleased to see my colleagues on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee and on the Finance Committee leading the health reform effort in the Senate. There are still many tough issues to resolve in the health care debate, including insurance coverage mandates, whether a public program will compete with private insurers, and how to pay for it. I welcomed the President's speech to Congress which outlined his view of how Congress should resolve the health care reform debate and offered room for compromise and pragmatism. While Congressional committees continue to craft various versions of health care reform bills, the highest priorities for Congress and health industry leaders remain protecting patient choice of care, curbing skyrocketing health costs, and expanding coverage for the uninsured.

Although I am hopeful that significant reform will be enacted by the end of this year, you should know that Congress has already passed several measures that have improved access to care for children and struggling families. In January, I voted for Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2), which will provide 4.1 million additional low-income children with quality health care coverage. I was also pleased that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enacted in February, included extended unemployment health benefits coverage as well as funds for cost saving health care initiatives like health information technology.

Although there is not a final version of the health reform bill in the Senate or House, I understand that there has been a lot of confusion and misinformation, and, yes, some fear and anger, as well, surrounding certain proposals for reform. You may be interested to know the Special Committee on Aging, of which I am a member, has prepared a document entitled "Health Care Reform, Fact vs. Fiction". I would encourage you to visit the website http://www.aging.senate.gov/issues/healthcare/factvsfiction.pdf to gather factual information regarding some of these rumors. If you are interested in reading the House and Senate bills, you can find the most updated versions of the legislation by visiting www.help.senate.gov and http://www.energycommerce.house.gov/.

Addressing our nation's health care crisis will be no small feat for Congress; but it will only get worse the longer we ignore it. Our nation's long term financial health requires a balance between family coverage needs and viable financing from businesses and the government. The current tenuous situation necessitates action on healthcare reform now. I look forward to working with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to find a fiscally responsible solution for the health of Americans and our nation's economy, and I am hopeful that we will have significant reform enacted by the end of this year.

Sincerely,

Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

P.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Update

The latest on my Mom is her potassium levels are up again. The doctor she goes to has changed one of her medicines to hopefully get her levels in the normal range. She has to have monthly blood test to monitor this. These test cost her $100 each time. She has an appointment to apply for Medicaid on October 22nd. I hope she gets it, but her doctor doesn’t seem confident she will qualify.

Yesterday I gave a 10 second spot on a video that a group is trying to use to help promote healthcare reform. When I get the clip I will put it on the blog along with a link to their website.

Thanks for all the support everyone has given me and my Mother. When I tell her about some of your comments it makes her happy to know there is so many caring people.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Part of President Obama's speech on 9/9/09

My First Response from the Senate

Dear Mr. Rogers:

Thank you for contacting me regarding research and treatment for arthritis. I appreciate hearing from you.

I share your concern for the millions of Americans affected by arthritis, which comprises more than one hundred different rheumatic diseases and conditions. The treatment of arthritis, as well as indirect costs due to lost productivity, cost Americans roughly $128 billion each year. Research to prevent these debilitating and painful diseases and conditions has the potential to both ease patient suffering and lessen the burden on the American health care system.

I have consistently supported funding increases for NIH, including the historic doubling of the NIH budget between fiscal years (FY) 1998 and 2003, which led to considerable progress in our understanding of major diseases and our ability to improve our nation’s health. However, since 2003, flat funding has eroded its purchasing power by 13 percent. As a result, a 2008 Brown University report found that there is a real risk that we will lose aspiring scientists to other industries or overseas, which would be a drain on the economy and scientific advancements.

As you may know, NIH received an additional $8.2 billion in research funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law on February 17, 2009. Since this funding was designed to stimulate the economy, it will be used for research projects that can be completed within two years.

In order to ensure that researchers continue to advance science and medical research, NIH must also receive adequate funding for long-term projects. As such, I am pleased that President Obama included over $30.7 billion for NIH in his budget request for FY10, approximately $443 million more than FY09 funding levels, over $530 million for the National Institute of Arthritis and Muskuloskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and $13.3 million for arthritis prevention and control efforts overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Senate Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member, on July 30, 2009, approved President Obama's request for NIH, over $533 million for NIAMS, and the President's request for arthritis-related activities at the CDC in the FY10 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.

I am also a cosponsor of S. 984, the Arthritis Prevention, Control, and Cure Act, which would authorize funding to encourage medical professionals to enter pediatric rheumatology, with the goal of increasing access to specialty care for children with juvenile arthritis. The bill would implement state and community-based arthritis programs to reduce the pain and disability of arthritis through early diagnosis and effective treatment, and authorize resources for research and better disease surveillance. In addition, S. 984 would create an Interagency Coordinating Committee on Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases to facilitate cooperation among federal agencies and increase investment through the development and implementation of a comprehensive National Arthritis Action Plan.

You may also be interested to know that S. 571, the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Research, Cure, and Care Act would expand and intensify research and related NIH activities specifically with respect to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

S.984 and S. 571 were referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), of which I am a member, where they are pending further review.

You can be assured that I will keep your thoughtful comments in mind should S. 984, S. 571, or related legislation be considered by the HELP Committee or the full Senate and as I continue to work to ensure the NIH, the CDC, and related agencies have the resources necessary to conduct important medical and scientific research.

As always, do not hesitate to write, call, or visit my website, www.reed.senate.gov, in the future for information regarding this or any other matter.


Sincerely,

Jack Reed
United States Senator
http://reed.senate.gov



If you'd like to send another message, please do so at http://reed.senate.gov/contact/ . Thank you.