Assemblyman Tom Harman
17011 Beach Blvd., Suite 570
Huntington Beach CA 92647
(CC. Diane Harman)

Dear Assemblyman Harman:

I'm writing in response to your letter explaining why you oppose SB840, and hope to convince you to change your mind. You wrote:

"…Single-payer systems promise but do not guarantee access to those who need it most. They claim statistics from countries that have implemented single-payer systems underscore the point [sic?] that when government funds health care access is limited by budget constraints and care is therefore rationed. According to recent statistics, more than 1.3 million Canadians (out of a total population of 26 million) are waiting for medical services, including some 212,990 who are waiting for services describing themselves as being in pain; and Canadian patients wait an average of six weeks after a referral from a primary care physician to see a specialist, and then wait another 7+ weeks on average before they receive treatment."

First of all, I question these statistics, and I have no doubt that, like all such statistics, they originate with the Fraser Institute, an extremist "think-tank" dedicated to privatizing Canada's healthcare system. A good indication of just how far out of the Canadian mainstream they are is that Conservative Prime Minister Paul Martin recently won election by promising to fully fund the system-a promise he has made good on. The Fraser Institute "cherry-picks" their data to support their bias, exaggerating failures while ignoring successes and dishonestly presenting old out-of-date data as new, and they put inordinate efforts into trumpeting their "findings" to the press.

Poll after poll show that Canadians overwhelmingly support their system, and wouldn't dream of changing it for ours. Recent evidence shows that the waiting times for non-emergent care in Canada are in fact equivalent to waiting times here.

Most important, the problems Canada has had in the past with shortages and waits were all due to underfunding of the system, a mistake we intend not to duplicate: SB840 will be funded at 2 to 3 times the level of the Canadian system.

When you warn about "limited access," "rationed care," and "access not guaranteed," it sounds like you have no idea what's going on now with our non-system. A few facts:

I could go on all day, but the point is, the health-insurance industry is ruining our economy and killing us. And we need some brave Republicans to break ranks, stand up to the health-insurance companies, and be part of the solution. SB840 will be good for all the honest businesses in your district, including Boeing, UCI, and Hoag, and we will make that case to them soon,

In parting, here's a serious offer: If you support SB840 (which is the right thing to do) and your lovely wife Diane promises to support it, all my Democrat, progressive and Green friends will be sure to come out next year and help her beat that LECHEROUS BACKSTABBER JIM SILVA. Come on, distinguish yourselves from the pack. It was the great Republican president Teddy Roosevelt who broke up the monopolies a century ago. I hope that some Republicans like you two will be brave enough to join with us and do the same now that it's once again a matter of life and death.


Vern Nelson, HCA-OC

Update, Nov. 1

Assemblyman Harman sent me a nice handwritten note, saying:

"Dear Vern, Thanks for your letter about SB840.  Your thoughts and concerns mean a lot to me.  My concern is the cost to implement the program.  It is in the billions!  Perhaps as much as the entire state budget.  Anyways, I'll keep an open mind about it.  Best regards, Tom.

P.S.  Dianne says thank you too."

This sounds like progress, but we have to keep at it.  It's of course not correct for him to say that the bill will COST billions when it will actually save 8 billion a year--he's just ignoring the amount we are already spending on health care.  More people need to write Assemblyman Harman and all other Republican Assemblymen and Senators and let them know we want this bill to pass!  Especially you Republicans out there.