Senator Reid and Representative Titus,
I would like to start by saying that I highly support a healthcare bill being passed that is both fiscally responsible and effective at bringing health insurance to those who need it. I believe it has many benefits for this country and all of it’s citizens.
As representatives of the people of Nevada, and thank you for performing that often thankless job, you are both, ultimately, temporary or contract employees of the people of the State of Nevada. As all Representatives and Senators are for their respective states. Since you are not full-time employees, but temporary contract employees I don’t believe members of Congress should receive healthcare benefits through the federal government. This practice should be ended immediately. I would also suggest ending healthcare support for the staffs of representatives as they are also ultimately temporary employees, though I would like to see their current coverage float till 2012 so they have time to find suitable other coverage or jobs. I would like you both to support or introduce bills to bring an end to this practice.
The removal of such an unusual benefit, healthcare for temporary employees, could bring about several useful changes. First and foremost it’s fiscally responsible. It is a rarity indeed for temporary employees to ever get healthcare benefits. I’m sure there would still be plenty of people interested in taking the job without this extra fiscal burden being place on the federal budget.
Secondly in theory the government is “of the people, by the people, for the people,” but it can never truly be so unless the representatives of the people face similar problems as the rest of the people. As long as our representatives in Congress receive special perks it will never be part of the general citizenry at large but will instead occupy a special higher place, a place elite and superior to the people that the representatives claim to represent.
Thirdly for any reformed healthcare system to work, members of Congress are going to have experience it’s successes and failures and have a stake in it. If the only stake representatives have is fielding phone calls we will end up with the nightmare scenario that the Republicans have painted. We must all be stakeholders in whatever the new system is, or in the current system if it remains, from those citizens who buy into healthcare coverage on the open market to those who represent us in Congress.
I have appreciated both of your efforts in regards to healthcare reform, I thank you for that effort, and I hope you will support a bill to bring yourselves in as participants into the plan that you are creating for the rest of us.