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We’ve Got Your Health-Care Questions, Now We’re Trying to Get You Answers

After our all-too-brief interview with Capps, this list goes on to her office

We asked for your questions, and we got them.

Noozhawk readers were more than happy to deluge us with questions for our exclusive health-care interview with Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Thursday, the day after President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress.

Unfortunately, our Lara Cooper learned just how quickly a 25-minute interview passes and she was unable to ask all of our questions or a few of yours. What follows is a compilation of the questions we received. We’re submitting the list to Capps’ office and we expect to receive written responses in return.

Thank you very much for your enthusiastic response. We appreciate your participation.

Click here for Noozhawk’s interview story.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

Noozhawk Readers’ Questions

» Will the elected officials voting on this issue be under the same health plan as everyone else — or will they continue to exempt themselves and keep their own plan?

» Can we reduce the risk of lawsuits that doctors have that require high insurance premiums and also protect the patients from neglect? Doctors over-test to protect themselves. Is there a happy medium?

» The plan will not insure illegal immigrants, yet there is nothing in place to prevent fraud by illegal immigrants, such as checking identification. Why?

» Rather than overhaul the entire U.S. health-care system, why not tackle simple fixes first? Such as allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines; regulating the insurance industry with things like mandates that require companies to accept preexisting conditions; stop providing unlimited medical care to illegal aliens; and tort reform?

» Should prescription drug advertising be banned? Think of that cost added to drug costs.

» National unemployment is hovering at 10 percent. The stimulus bill was rushed through under emergency conditions, but just a small percentage of the funds has been spent and much of the spending won’t happen for years. Why the full-court press on health care and not the economy?

» The president said in his speech that “a full and vibrant recovery is still many months away.” What is Congress doing to hasten that recovery?

» How are you going to pay for an overhaul of the U.S. health-care system? How can all of these reforms not add “a dime” to the deficit?

» Do you stand behind the Congressional Budget Office assessment that the White House cost estimates are wildly optimistic?

» The president has said — repeatedly — that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, and if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance. But if the government is assuming the role of competitor and referee, and private companies that currently provide health insurance can drop that coverage and pay a penalty equivalent to 8 percent of payroll, how will millions of Americans who like their doctor, get to keep their doctor, and who like their insurance, get to keep their insurance?

» What are your three most important issues/reasons in the legislation? The three things you can’t live without?

» You said at the Democratic Party’s Labor Day picnic that you would be voting for a public option. How committed is the House Democratic Caucus to the public option? Is a “trigger” or co-op an acceptable substitute?

» The president conceded that Medicare and Medicaid are plagued by “waste and inefficiency.” Do you agree? Given that, why should we expand federal authority over the rest of the health-care system?

» Do you support cutting Medicare Advantage? How many of your constituents are enrolled in Medicare Advantage?

» Democrats have an absolute majority. Why do you even need Republican support?

» Do you support the legislation being crafted by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee? How does the House view that? As a first step, as a viable option, as a nonstarter?

» Which chamber wins in the House-Senate conference?

» Anti-abortion Democrats and Republicans want a yes-or-no vote on your abortion amendment. Do you support that? Will the amendment pass?

» What was your office’s tally of constituent calls, letters and e-mails about health-care reform?

» After the August recess, what has been the mood in the Capitol since your return?

» Any updates you can give on stimulus spending in our district?

» Has the California congressional delegation had any meetings regarding California’s precarious financial state? Are there things you all can do to provide leadership or direction?

» While I understand that illegal immigrants will not have subsidized health insurance, won’t illegal immigrants still be able to obtain emergency medical care at a hospital without payment? Personally, I wouldn’t want to see anyone denied emergency care, but what is your take?

» May we see the complete list of all the insurance programs — including cost, coverage and other comparable details — available to members of Congress?

» How many new bureaucratic organizations will be formed as a result of the House bill?

» Does the legislation still contain a provision for a study of equal medical treatment for minorities? Is there also a study for language accessibility? Why is money being spent this way when it doesn’t increase health care?

» Why is there no comprehensive tort reform?

» Will illegal aliens receive health care under this bill?

» The president says we can keep our insurance if we like it, but he is cutting Medicare Advantage plans that many of us are very happy to have. Why?

» If there are such big savings to be had by cutting waste and mismanagement in Medicare, why isn’t the government already doing that now?

» The plan supposedly will not insure illegal immigrants, yet there is nothing to prevent fraud by illegal immigrants, such as checking identification. Why?

» The president says that if you wan to keep your insurance you can keep it, yet that will not be the case if the government option puts insurance companies out of business, or if employers drop the benefit because there is a government option. How do you explain that?

» Why are tax-free health-savings accounts not considered?

» Why are co-pays to discourage fraud and abuse not considered?

» Why is the idea of allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines not considered?

» Why should we trust the government to set aside money when it has proved incapable of doing that with the Social Security trust?

» Why is the government considered capable of running an efficient low-cost option that pays for itself?

» The United States admits more than 1.5 million immigrants per year on temporary and permanent visas. The U.S. population is projected to grow to 1.1 billion by 2100, primarily because of high immigration, legal and illegal. Do you believe such a densely populated nation is desirable and sustainable, or would you consider any reduction in immigration levels?

» Can drug company and health-care profits and executive pay be reduced to a reasonable level?

» Can the conflict of interest of doctors owning testing companies be limited?

» Can the paperwork and approval burden be reduced for doctors?

» Were any hard lessons learned on deployments of federal assets during the Jesusita Fire? Were those lessons applied in the La Cañada/Flintridge Fire?

» Why would you vote to completely change one of the best health-care systems in the world to that of the ailing Medicare and Medicaid or a Canada- or England-style health care?

» If this health-care plan is so great, why is Congress exempting itself?

» Will you vote for health-care legislation that exempts labor unions?

» How does spending $900 billion on health care make it cheaper?

» We have 1,300+ insurance plans out there now. How does adding a public option make it more competitive?

» Why can’t Americans buy insurance across state lines if they can find a plan that fits their needs and is cheaper?

» How does cutting $500 billion out of Medicare help seniors?

» If there is so much waste and abuse in Medicare, why are we waiting to get rid of it until we pass this health-care overhaul?

» How can you have health-care reform without tort reform? Why doesn’t Congress want to reduce the excesses caused, directly and indirectly, by an abundance of lawsuits and threats of lawsuits?

» Why aren’t you advocating for a government-administered prescription drug plan for seniors that permits the health and human services secretary to directly negotiate drug prices with manufacturers?

» Will you hold firm to the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ idea that without a strong and robust public option from Day One, meaning without any so-called triggers, that there can be no health-care reform?

» Why must I be required to have health insurance against my will?

» What happened to the figure of 47 million uninsured? In his speech, the president said 30 million Americans are uninsured. Where did those 17 million people go? How many are illegal immigrants?

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