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Terry Gardner Headshot

Dear Congress: Please Help -- Or Should I Join the Uninsured?

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When the health insurance debate began last summer, I was confident that by March, there would be new legislation that would give me the freedom to leave Anthem Blue Cross if they jacked up my rates again.

But no, Republicans and Democrats can't get past their partisanship to pass any meaningful insurance reform. If Rome were burning, I would hate for any of you to be in charge of putting out the fire -- you'd either delegate or filibuster until you smelled your own house burning.

Had Ted Kennedy lived, I think more would have been accomplished. He knew how to reach across the aisle. Have all your arms gotten that short?

Please, Congress, I'm one of the Californians Anthem Blue Cross is shaking down with higher premiums. We are stuck in an unhappy marriage -- Anthem Blue Cross resents my migraines and allergies, and I resent its ever increasing premiums. It's good I have a strong heart. Otherwise Anthem Blue Cross' notice that it was jacking up my premium approximately 40% could have caused a coronary.

Anthem Blue Cross will only raise my premium about 15% if I opt for its "generic only plan" - knowing full well that I take a few name brand prescription drugs. See what I mean about a bad marriage? It's a bit like Congress except Anthem and I get along better than Republicans and Democrats. Before you were Republicans and Democrats with Congressional health insurance, didn't you have to pay insurance premiums? Please either add me onto your plan or get something done.

I can't leave Anthem Blue Cross because any new health insurance provider would either exclude coverage of my migraines and allergies or would slap me with a surcharge more painful than a migraine.

We are supposed to be a "Government by the people, for the people," so no meaningful legislation can happen if Democrats shut the Republicans out. They'll just file a lawsuit to determine if it's unconstitutional. For the people does include Republicans - I have some in my family. Please work together for those of us who are individually insured and worried about staying insured.

So what if a Republican replaced Ted Kennedy? This is the hand you've been dealt.
Scott Brown seems to be a bit independent of the Bible thumpers. (I think the Good Book is meant to be read, not thumped.) Give the new Senator a chance, he may surprise you. I've been hoping Senator McCain would surprise me and search for common ground rather than just stomping in his Republican sandbox.

Ted Kennedy was able to get beyond partisanship to accomplish legislation. Is it too much for the people to expect?

Californians like me who have individual health policies may soon join the thousands of uninsured Americans when there is no money left for health insurance companies to pick from our pockets.

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