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So Much For Contacting My Congressman

Here’s a comment from Jay Inslee’s health care townhall meeting in Edmonds, Washington, that doesn’t really have anything to do with health care.

Um, so, first of all, I wanted to say thank you to Jay Inslee personally because I always appreciate that you always write people back when they email you.

I’m just going to say that this woman has very low standards for what constitutes “writing back.” I’ve contacted Congressman Inslee on numerous occasions and, as I mentioned here, his responses bear more resemblance to self-serving campaign literature than any sincere attempt to engage in debate with his constituents.

Even taking this into consideration, the e-mail I received from the good Congressman yesterday is definitely a prize-winner for out-of-touch communications. I few weeks ago, I contacted Congressman Inslee via e-mail to voice my opposition to H.R. 3200.

The Honorable Jay Inslee
United States Representative
403 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative Inslee:

I’m contacting you today to voice my strong opposition to H.R 3200. My research leads me to believe that this legislation would accomplish very little of what it claims to do in terms of controlling costs and making affordable, quality care available to more people.

Additionally, it appears to be likely that provisions of the bill would lead to many companies choosing to discontinue offering health care coverage, forcing many people into the government option, despite claims to the contrary.

I’m asking that you oppose H.R. 3200.

Sincerely,
It’s Only Words
##### ##th Ave SE
Snohomish, WA 98296

Inslee’s response:

Ms. It’s Only Words
##### ##th Avenue SE
Snohomish, Washington 98296

Dear Ms. Words:

Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, and to express your support for health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you.

I would like you to know that I have been strongly supportive of President Obama’s public health insurance option throughout the health care reform process, and I also concur with our President that we have a unique opportunity to bring real reform….

Please continue to contact me about the issues that concern you, as I both need and welcome your thoughts and ideas. I encourage you to contact me via email, telephone, or fax, because security measures in the House cause delays in receiving postal mail. For more information on my activities in Congress, and for information on services that my office can provide, please visit my website at http://www.house.gov/inslee. If you would like to subscribe to my email updates, please visit http://www.house.gov/inslee/signup.htm.

Very Truly Yours,

JAY INSLEE

Member of Congress

Even though I do favor some sort of health care reform, I explicitly did not mention that in my e-mail to Inslee because I wanted to be very clear in my total opposition to H.R. 3200. It appears that was a wise move. If even my short e-mail could be construed by Inslee (or his staff) as supporting health care reform, one can only wonder what they might have deduced if I’d said anything even slightly in favor. Check out that first paragraph; he appreciates “hearing” from me but I have to wonder if anyone actually read my e-mail. I’m guessing that by Inslee’s reckoning, 99% of his constituents favor reform, with 90% backing. H.R. 3200.

The tone deaf opening paragraph was followed up with a lengthy description of Inslee’s valiant efforts to enact a public option; rectify some Medicare pay inequities; establish Accountable Care Organizations; eliminate co-pays for preventive care; enact a variety of other measures; and bind Jay Inslee as tightly as possible to Barack Obama, but nothing which addressed my concerns in a substantive way.

Then, to conclude, he invites me to contact him any time! Yes, I’ll get on that because I’m sure not feeling like every minute I spend writing to to you is a complete and total waste of my time, Jay.

I understand that Congressman Inslee is very busy and his staff is very busy but let’s be honest…these are all boilerplate responses. The fact that the “response” I received doesn’t seem to be appropriate makes it appear as though no one is even giving their correspondence a cursory review. If they were, why wouldn’t my opposition to H.R. 3200 have been acknowledged?

Congressman Inslee needs to remember who pays his salary and provides him with an office and a staff and the next time his employer calls, faxes or e-mails, he needs to actually know why they are contacting him before he responds. Otherwise, why should we bother?

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