Dear Congressman John Salazar…
by Seth Cagin
Oct 07, 2009 | 2537 views | 8 8 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LOCAL PERSPECTIVE

I just finished reading your position on health care, posted on your website www.house.gov/salazar/, and I am writing to say how enthusiastically I support you. I am especially pleased that you recognize the importance of a public option. I hope you will fight with everything you’ve got to make meaningful reform a reality.

I believe that in taking a clear position you are demonstrating impressive political courage. The attacks against health care reform have been vicious, what with hateful talk of death panels and encroaching socialism and unyielding, knee-jerk Republican opposition. I’m sure you have had to consider that in doing what’s right for America and for your constituents, you may come under attack.

I hereby pledge to support you strongly if you do.

I want to confirm what you state on your website, that the broken system you are working to fix is hurting us right here in the Third Congressional District – and we have the advantage of a relatively well-functioning system in Grand Junction and our homegrown nonprofit insurance company, Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Through RMHP I offer the best group policy I can afford to our employees here at the Watch, and have watched our premiums increase year after year, at the same time that the benefits have shrunk. Not only am I paying more each year for less, but so are my employees.

Obviously, the higher costs make it far more difficult for me to grow my business, or give employees the raises they deserve. With more of our money spent on health care, there is less for other things. We all eat out less, travel less, and spend less on entertainment and clothing. All of this depresses the local economy.

I recently asked my personal physician if he could guess how much it cost last year for health care, everything included, for my wife, our son, and me. He guessed “about $10,000.” In fact, it was $22,000 just in health insurance premiums, plus we had another $10,000 or so in deductibles. (It was a rough year.) That means we spent over $30,000 for the three of us last year.

To me, and I would imagine to most residents of this district, this is a breathtaking number!

I understand that some of your constituents may be afraid of change, worried that whatever the reform package brings us may be even worse than what we have now. I am the opposite. I am afraid that without change, our health care costs will bankrupt us, not only my small business in the Western San Juans, but the entire nation.

It is easy to for me to buy President Obama’s argument that health care reform is a necessary part of an economic recovery. If we can just get these inexorably rising costs under control, then we can start to invest in other things.

There is, on top of the practical necessities of maintaining our health and fixing the economy, a moral imperative behind health care reform. As an employer, one reason we offer the benefit of a group health plan is so that we never find ourselves in the position of seeing a coworker faced with a health crisis they can’t afford. I am horrified when I hear about a bake sale put on to help someone pay for their child’s leukemia treatments. Health care is as much a necessity of modern life as is food and clean drinking water. Ensuring that it is universally available and affordable is simply a bottom-line requirement for a civilized society.

I appreciate the emphasis you place on ensuring that health care reform addresses the specific challenges faced by rural communities. You are right-on about this.

If there is anything more you need in the way of support for this critical cause, please let me know and I will not only do what I can, but will pass the word on to anyone I can reach.

This is the cause of our time and the position you have outlined on it is commendable.

Thank you.

Comments
(8)
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Rules?
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October 08, 2009
A violation of what rules? Sure the Master Plan suggest that spreading housing throughout the community is the preferred manner but are you seriously suggesting that the town not take advantage of 9 units with parking that is already built? The master plan is not a rule book and you will not find anything set in stone in LUC that says one affordable housing project cannot be near another one.

In case you havent noticed that whole area ia already "clumped" with condos. The argument that nine locals living there is going to somehow ruin the chracter and livability of that area is about as lame as you can get.

Nice try throwing the " violation of rules" red herring argument in there.
to why wait
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October 08, 2009
Wait a minute. I believe Chris Myers' objection was that they were planning to clump all the affordable housing units in one spot, which is a violation of the rules. Affordable housing units are supposed to be dispersed, no?
thcpa
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October 08, 2009
aaahh, yes, the old affordable housing brings criminal elements argument...

ashh yes..

(Mr. Face, just stirring the pot).
why wait
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October 08, 2009
There is no reason to wait as Elemnet 52 would have to provide the affordable housing on site to achieve a Co to sell its units. It makes perfect sense to provide this option ( which is much better tahn the original plane) to provide an incentive to get this legal issue resolved sooner than later.

It is obvious that Mr. Geiger has put in the necessary protections that will not allow the conveyance without clear title.

For the town to achieve the control of an entire building which also adhears to the new standards of affordable housing ( ie: each unit has a paeking space) while almost doubling the units gained from the original mitigation amount is a true win.

On a side note I found it interesting to learn that two council candidates apparently spoke against it at the P&Z meeting. The first Russell was hired by an HOA so I guess that takes the heat off of her to an extent. However the 2nd, Chris Meyers apparently was concerned that it was to close to where he lives. I guess he is for affordable housing as long as it is not next to his home.
FaceOnMars
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October 08, 2009
Perhaps you are THCPA.

While it might be a win-win, I don't see the harm it would incur to wait until the legal cloud is more clear.

THCPA
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October 07, 2009
Mr. Face- perhaps I am hard on Carnevale..but on E52 - I see it as a win win. I know a lot about the project and it is high end Telluride. A chance to really generate some energy in RETT...and 9 for 5 makes sense to me.

Geiger is a smart guy..he will get his lien free aff housing or a bond to protect the ToT. I work with bonding as a security tool every day, it works.

Here is a chance to work with someone who is actually employing men and women from Telluride and I am glad the town did it.

My fiscal conservatism is served by the actual likelihood that we will have RETT.

FaceOnMars
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October 07, 2009
THCPA, you weren't entirely fiscally conservative by apparently opposing Thom Carnevale's motion to continue the hearing until Dec. ... yet the town attorney "urged the town to ensure that it won’t be inheriting legal problems with the proposal" (according to the TDP).

While there is a "fiscal conservatism" with respect to ideology regarding the extent to which government ought to involve itself economically in a society, a more comprehensive take on "fiscal conservatism" would also include how the topics of risk and exposure are addressed. Clearly, the Element 52 proposal entailed some risk ... which most "fiscal conservatives" might have issues as Thom expressed.

Nonetheless, I generally agree with your take on Obama.
THCPA
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October 07, 2009
Dear President Obama:

As you must know by now some brave souls actually believed you when you talked about change. One of these souls is Senator Salazar.

See above.

Note that he has stuck his neck out for change.

Perhaps you werent watching this weekend when SNL made humor on your record. With both houses of the house in your back pocket you have accomplished virtually nothing. Its on you tube if you want to see it.

I am a fiscal conservative yet I now see the need to have a public option. Astute political commentators like Arianna Huffington see it and refuse to give you an inch of back pedalling. Indeed, anyone with conscience can not accept the fact that the free market does not work in allocating medicine to humans; our record as a great nation is shameful.

The problem that I see is two fold. First, this crap that "you wont add a dime to the national debt" to insure the 50 mm uninsured is unbelievable on its face. You lie. Why not man up and take the bully pulpit and tell us that as a nation we need to reorganize our priorities and actually put your neck on the line with Salazar. Not just show and tell with the MD's like the show yesterday-get out and lead. Provide political cover for the few who still back the public option. The truth is that our health costs will soar unless we cut services; that is what everyone is afraid of, cutting services. So, some truth would help. The second cut dove tails on the first lie. We have the best health care in the world for those who can participate in it because they pay for the best services. Get out there and use your elected voice and tell the Blue Dogs and the Repubs and everyone else that taxes are going to be raised so that everyone has access and that we are going to shuffle the deck and that basic human rights include access to the same medical care that I presently enjoy. Services wont be cut because we are going to increase funding for medical services so that everyone has access to the best medical services in the world.

Fight for this. Who else but you can provide political cover for people who are fighting your fight while you fiddle?

I am so disappointed in your presidency. How can you allow gays to be killed in the line of duty as long as they keep their mouth shut? Fix this, once and for all. Gitmo? More troops in Afghanistan? Dear Christ.

May I suggest that you quit taking polls and have your pulse taken? The people elected you to get out in front and get it done. Yes, you may be a one term president - lead now while you have the majority. Next year will be too late.

Quit overanalyzing everything and playing what if. Change is spelled BALLS.