Senator Brown’s Email To Me and MY Response

Dear Mr. XXXXXX:

Thank you for expressing your concerns regarding health care.

I have heard from an overwhelming number of Ohioans on this issue. While the sheer volume of letters and calls precludes me from personally answering every question and concern I receive, I appreciate the input that I have received from you and other Ohioans.

Since first coming to Congress in 1993, I have refused to enroll in the coverage offered to members of Congress until every American has access to high-quality, affordable health insurance. When our nation achieves this goal, I would be pleased to enroll. I am fighting to ensure that a public health insurance option is available to both private and government employees, including members of Congress and their staff.

I strongly believe that our health care system is in need of reform that reduces the long-term growth of health care costs for business and government; protects families from bankruptcy or debt because of health expenditures; guarantees choice of doctors and health plans; invests in prevention and wellness; improves patient safety and quality of care; assures affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans; and ends barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

One promising solution to the problems of cost, quality, and access that plague our health care system is to increase competition in the health insurance market. If the private insurance industry was truly competitive, then there would be strong incentives to provide coverage to as many Americans as possible and to build customer loyalty through cost savings and quality improvements. Unfortunately, insurers do not truly compete against one another; instead, they make use of the same basic strategies to earn significant profits. These tactics include selectively insuring the lowest risk enrollees, slow-walking claims payments so they can earn interest on every premium dollar, and denying as many claims as possible.

What the insurance industry needs is some healthy competition from a public insurance option. This option would not replace employer-sponsored coverage; it would simply give uninsured or underinsured Americans the choice of enrolling in an insurance plan that does not engage in the same cost-avoidance tactics as private insurance plans do. The public insurance option would also be a vehicle for quality, coverage, and provider access improvements that sets the bar higher for private insurance plans.

Recently, I have heard from many seniors and retirees concerned about the availability of quality health care coverage for older Americans. I agree that health care reform must not ignore seniors and I am working to address these issues as the health reform debate continues.

Please be sure that I am considering all the options carefully and that I will keep your views in mind as legislation related to health care comes before the Senate. Thank you again for getting in touch with me on this important matter.


Sherrod Brown
United States Senator


Dear Senator Brown,

You state in your second paragraph, “Since first coming to Congress in 1993, I have refused to enroll in the coverage offered to members of Congress until every American has access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.”  Where do you have health insurance or health coverage? Is it private?  Is it through The Cleveland Plain Dealer?

I don’t mean to be nosey, but not enrolling in a health care plan that is available to all federal government workers, but being able to afford to purchase it somewhere else is being a little bit disingenuous, in my opinion.  Far too many of my neighbors and acquaintances simply cannot afford any health care insurance.  The Emergency Room is their primary care option.

If the health insurance industry must be around, so be it.  But a federal government run program similar to the one available to government employees is a must.


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