I do not claim to be a steady supporter of yours. I do think of you as a moderate, sensible voice in the Senate. I appreciate that you are not prone to the partisan hyperbole that seems to permeate so much our national debate. There was a time when you sought to be a member the Obama administration and when they sought to have you. You know they are not monsters. You also know the severity and extent of the problems this administration faces. As you enter your final year as US Senator you have a unique, historical opportunity to do something important.
In your Washington Times editorial of 7/17/2009 you wrote:
"Our health care system is broken and must be fixed. We also agree that we must reform how we pay for this system, and, at the same time, reduce the number of people who lack coverage without disrupting the coverage that insured people already have.
We must encourage quality of care and reduce the skyrocketing medical bills so many families face. These are goals President Obama has endorsed and these should be the center of our bipartisan health reform efforts."
In that article and in subsequent comments you have been highly critical of ongoing reform efforts. Many of these criticisms are legitimate. But you were correct in recognizing the failings of our current system. These problems must be addressed. You should also recognize that the proposed legislation does, however imperfectly, address these concerns. It will vastly reduce the number of uninsured. It will not disrupt current insurance systems. It will not add to the budget deficit. It does make a first, tentative, but essential, attempt to control skyrocketing medical bills. These are important reforms. They are essential for controlling state and federal budgets. The are need by New Hampshire families and business facing ever-escalating costs. They are necessary for the millions of Americans who can't get and can't afford insurance.
Our system is broken. It must be fixed. If we do not reform this system this year when will we? How will we control medical costs in the future? In what year, under which administration, will tens of millions of uninsured, working Americans be able to obtain health insurance? How many more years will pass before we can put a stop to the medical-bill bankruptcies? What will happen to state, federal, business and household budgets during those years? I work for a small company. In the past two years my family's health insurance premiums have increased by 55%. Most insurers in New Hampshire won't sell insurance to my family because my son has a "pre-existing condition". In what year will there be a system that works for my family?
If you are opposed to health care reform out of your own self-interest, or because for political reasons -- if you are voting to maintain the status quo because you think it will hurt one political party or advance another -- then you must realized your reasoning is inadequate and sad. Do you believe that the current health reform bills will make things worse for citizens of this country? Do you think perpetuation of the status quo will be good for my family, and your family, and the people of New Hampshire? Even if you believe this, you know this system is broken. You know this administration is willing to compromise. You know there are deals to be made. You can work to produce a bill that is worthy of your support. You know that all laws are a product of compromise and are all imperfect. You know that the worst thing we could do is nothing at all.
Fixing our health insurance system is not easy. Easy or not, it is broken. It must be fixed. You serve the citizens of this state in the United States Senate. You have the power to fix this. You have the responsibility to fix this. You have been given the opportunity to fix this. The people of this country are relying on you to do what is right. Easy or not. Politically expedient or not. We have put our trust in you.