A Message to Senator Cory Gardner on AHCA

Posted: May 7, 2017 in Author's Notes


Senator Gardner,

Today I write to you as a concerned resident of the State of Colorado regarding the proposed American Healthcare Act. I have read the 126 pages of this bill, and I would like to recommend that you strongly reject the passage of this bill in its current form. If passed into law, the American Healthcare Act will not only deregulate the standards of fair health insurance practices across Colorado and the United States, but it will also be useless for actually improving the health of Americans across the country.

The core of this bill that frustrates me the most, which would essentially affect the greatest country in the world, is that it misses the mark on how healthcare should be handled for the American public. The terms “individual market” and “small business tax credits” are used throughout the bill to describe a system that is supposed to regulate the administration and funding of healthcare for American citizens. Instead, it is painted throughout this bill as a for-profit market, where looser regulations on premium limits and payments are portrayed as a business benefit, and nearly nothing in the bill addresses anything about the regulation of safe health practices to ensure the actual health of Americans is preserved through such insurance programs.

The bill features several clauses that strike taxes from many of the programs outlined under the Medicare and Affordable Care Act. While the tax cuts might initially seem like a benefit to the average American, the grander scheme is that it nearly deregulates the standards for health insurance to a level that the federal government has almost no control over fair practice standards, and in turn the for-profit health insurance firms operating across state lines will then have the most control. The effects of this deregulation are a market where health insurance is a commodity rather than a service and can be manipulated to be whatever terms the for-profit firms determine it to be, with no room for representative democracy. This is significantly dangerous for Americans who must purchase new insurance plans and have pre-existing conditions from previous plans. The treatment they receive is no longer guaranteed via taxes paid towards providing one standard for healthcare; it hinges on how much money is paid towards multiple corporate insurance providers, who are profiting millions every year. The end state is that Americans’ health will not improve overall due to unpredictable business practices.

This is not the way healthcare should be handled in Colorado or the United States. As someone who has served the State of Colorado as an Army Officer on Active Duty and in the National Guard, as well as in the civil service for the City of Fort Collins, I have learned that healthcare is an essential public service to our citizens in order for them to live healthy and productive lives in their home state. I have been successful in my military and civilian careers as a result of comprehensive healthcare programs. My family and I do not have to worry about paying for our doctor’s visits or medication because it is a service provided with our way of life. Every American should have access to the same opportunities to prosper both economically and socially without fear of having to spend their life savings going to the doctor.

I strongly recommend you reevaluate this bill and reject the passage of it on the Senate Floor. My proposed solution might not be a popular one for you or your party, but I strongly encourage the exploration of a single-payer healthcare solution for all citizens. It has worked for countries outside of the United States, as well as for our military and our veterans. There is no reason why we can’t do the same thing for ordinary citizens of Colorado and the United States. Colorado is known for being one of the healthiest States in the United States, and in order for it to stay that way, the people must be able to pursue their dreams without the fear of losing all their hard-earned money to a corporate insurance firm. Healthcare is not a business; it is a public service necessary to sustain basic human rights, which among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.

John T. O’Connell


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