LETTER: Constituents active and informed; representatives need to listen

To the Editor:
 
I don’t think that the Republicans in Congress really understand what’s going on.  I think that they have deluded themselves into thinking that they are beloved by their constituents and that those constituents will just turn a blind eye to their behavior out of affection or disinterest.
That may have been true in the past; it is far from true today; the stakes for middle America are too high. I think that politicians are shocked by how informed and active their constituents have become.
 
People are demanding that their Representatives act on their behalf and take care doing so.
 
As an example, I just received a letter from Hon. Claudia Tenney, presumably in response to my phone call to her office asking her to vote against the Republican Healthcare proposal and in that letter, in that letter, written before the bill was pulled, she attempts to justify voting for that legislation on the grounds that the ACA (also known as “Obamacare”) is failing Americans.
 
I wonder if she realizes that her letter reads as a solid justification for single-payer, universal healthcare.  Universal single payer is something Americans both need and want and something that ought to be on her radar, but it doesn’t seem to be.

 
Obamacare is not failing anyone that I know; my observation is that children who are unemployed/ students, or employed but without benefits would otherwise be unable to purchase meaningful insurance coverage.
 
The night before the now-canceled vote, Ms. Tenney appeared on Fox News for an interview and explained that her intention to vote favorably on that legislation resulted from her coming from a District that voted favorably for Donald Trump. Well, that was true, and it may have reflected the view of residents in her District some months ago, but I think she makes a grave error in judgment relying on that fact today.
People didn’t vote for Trump so that the rich could get richer: they voted for him because they believed him when he said he would take care of them. I think they question that now. The bill Rep. Tenney supported certainly wouldn’t do that.
 
As well, it seems that the plan was for the Republicans to commit “legislator malpractice.” They were going to vote for a bill that hadn’t been finalized and that they hadn’t even fully read, but this wasn’t going to stop them. It seemed that the one thing that they absolutely knew was that it satisfied the fundamental Trump/Freedom Caucus criteria: it helped no one but the insurance industry and the wealthy.
 
This bill was almost universally despised.
In this atmosphere, certainly she knew that 83 percent of all Americans rejected the bill. She had to know that she was choosing to ignore Americans, the Congressional Budget Office, the American Medical Association, the AARP and many others, all of whom thought the bill was no good, and yet she and other Republicans refused to slow down and listen.

Mr. Trump promised Americans that he would make sure that “everyone has insurance and it will be terrific” while now supporting legislation that would deprive 24 million Americans of “meaningful” insurance.

“Meaningful” is the key word here. Prior to the ACA, people bought and paid for insurance policies that simply failed to provide adequate or essential coverage. When sale of those policies were outlawed by the ACA, some Republicans loudly complained that this was evidence that people were losing their coverage. Those outlawed policies didn’t cover doctors’ services, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and childbirth, mental health services and more.
For Americans to hear politicians defending worthless health policies was disturbing, to say the least. The last proposed Republican bill removed the mandatory essential benefits. It made the policies worthless. Just another way to give cash to the wealthy.
Further, I wonder how her constituents can agree with Rep. Tenney if she is going to characterize and dismiss those constituents that disagree with her as “paid disrupters,” without any evidence to support it.
 
I would respectfully submit that Rep. Tenney must understand and value the needs and opinions of those she was elected to serve, whether or not they agree with her.
 
Myself,  I think it’s wrong to deprive Americans of Healthcare
I think it’s wrong to say you’re giving Americans “Access” to health care when you know they can’t afford it.
I think it’s wrong to suggest that giving tax credits to the poor that don’t earn enough to pay taxes is somehow an answer to any problem.
I think it’s wrong to vote on last-minute, cobbled-together legislation without understanding and recognizing the human or budgetary impact. I think it’s wrong to rush through legislation.
Let’s work to support Americans; you weren’t elected to support a political philosophy that would allow millions to go without fundamental care while continuing to bathe the very wealthy in cash. Let’s have “entitlement reform” begin by ending our subsidies to the wealthy and to wealthy corporations.
 
Ms. Tenney, I know many people that would embrace the opportunity to dialog with you on the issues and would look forward to the opportunity.  
 
Thank you.
 
Mike Oot, Stockbridge

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