Rep. Ike Skelton, Out of Touch.

In September Coffee Camp member Paul Garrison wrote a Letter to Rep. Ike Skelton (D)-Missouri asking him not to attend the dedication of the Union monument in Lexington, Missouri which was to be held on Sept. 26, 2009. 

The letter (which was published here on the Coffee Camp blog and can be read by clicking on the  following link )  was short and to the point.

One would think that a high ranking United States representative would be able to understand the contents of such a letter and respond accordingly.  Instead, Rep. Skelton’s response serves as a reminder of just how out of touch Washington is with the rest of us here in “flyover country”.

Below is the response that Mr. Garrison received:

“Dear Mr. Garrison: 

Thank you for contacting me regarding health insurance reform.  It is good to hear from you. 

On November 7, 2009, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, by a vote of 220 to 215.  After careful consideration and review, I could not lend my support to H.R. 3962 because it did not represent the right balance for the rural Missourians I represent in Congress.  Thus, I voted against it. 

For months, I have been meeting with rural health professionals and other Fourth District residents about our nation’s health care system.  To be sure, reforms need to occur.  Far too often, insurance companies get in between patients and their doctors by denying coverage for necessary medical procedures, by dropping beneficiaries because they get sick, and by imposing unreasonable premiums on those who need coverage the most.  These insurance company practices are wrong and must be fixed.  Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on this fact. 

I am open to considering legislative solutions to correct these and other problems in America’s health system.  One solution might be for Congress to address health insurance reform one issue at a time, and build bipartisan support among the public and the Congress.  The American people – those with insurance and those without – must fully understand how any new legislation will affect them and their families. 

H.R. 3962 carried with it a great deal of confusion and uncertainty, especially for millions of hard working Americans

private health insurance policies they like.  This uncertainty and the possible unintended consequences associated with the government run public option that would be created by the legislation were very troubling to me and to the thousands of Missourians who contacted me about health insurance reform.  

I also remain concerned about the impact on rural hospitals from the bill’s proposed cuts in Medicare reimbursements.  On November 13, 2009, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an analysis of H.R. 3962.  The provisions of the bill are partially paid for by changing the formula used by Medicare to reimburse hospitals.  The Actuary’s report concludes that such a change would result in an annual cut to hospitals and would either force hospitals to stop accepting Medicare patients or force Congress to adjust the formula and eliminate the cost savings, which would simply add to the deficit.  This is the result I feared. 

As this legislative effort moves to the Senate, much more serious work remains.  And, I hope Congressional leaders will listen to the 39 Democrats, like me, who were not comfortable with the approach taken in H.R. 3962.  Any final bill presented to Congress certainly must not include a new, Washington-run government health care bureaucracy, must reduce costs for people with insurance, must strengthen Medicare, and must ensure rural doctors and hospitals are adequately reimbursed.  And, importantly, any final bill must be more affordable for our country. 

I appreciate your sharing your views with me and hope you will closely monitor this bill as the legislative process goes forward.  Please do keep in touch with me in the days ahead.  With kind regards, I remain
Very truly yours,

Member of Congress “

One can’t help but appreciate Mr. Garrison’s Response to the good representative…

“You have you signals crossed as I contacted you on your support of the SUV and their continued defamation of Southern Pride and the SCV in the good state of Missouri. Once again we find out where your head is located and I don’t mean Illinois!”

Well done Paul!



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