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This is the third part of a series testing how our elected officials in Maine respond to a question from a Citizen about their federal health care plans.
Recap: Senators Snowe and Collins, Representatives Michaud, and Pingree were asked for copies of their health care policies and what the costs are to the public and to them.
They were also asked how much of those health care benefits will carry into retirement if they become vested.
Remember, this is public information, hard to find but public. You and me and your neighbors pay their salaries. We pay for their benefits, or at least some part of those benefits.
Snowe's office refused Collins office very politely said, don't call us, we'll call you.
Michaud's office, also politely gave me the brush off.
Congress Woman Pingree's office sent a response, and then a follow up response when I pointed out that they may have misunderstood my question.
The response is coming later in this post. One out of three elected officials, two answers and one of them advice to "go find it yourself". The other answer a polite follow up along with an a second follow up, without the information, but seriously leaving the door open to belief that we have at least one Congressional representative that cares about the people of Maine.
In all fairness I will copy the three posts on this topic, forward them to the Congressional offices involved in case I just hit one day of bad customer service in three cases.
Thank you, Congress woman Pingree and thank you Mr. Ritch for the emails.
Let me see if I can dig up that information for you.
On 8/25/09 8:47 PM, "NarsBars" <NarsBars@UnionMaine.Org> wrote:
Thank you but my question was more specific. I would like a copy of the explanation of benefits for the plan Congresswoman Pingree elected and a break down of the costs for that plan allocated to the Congresswoman and the taxpayer. I realize this is public information but my intent is more than health care, it is to measure and demonstrate the help or lack of help each federal office holder in
I am afraid my contributions to Congresswoman Pingree will not get me an invitation to chat on the phone.
I look forward to that information, as Senator Snowe’s office has told me to “go look it up” . I am publishing all of the answers I receive or the lack of them in a continuing series on my blog Http://www.unionmaine.blogspot.com <http://www.unionmaine.blogspot.com/>
From: Willy Ritch [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:45 AM
I understand you had a question about health care benefits that Members of Congress are eligible for. They actually have a choice of a bunch of plans, and I think this LA Times article describes it pretty well:
Let me know if you have any more questions.
All the best,
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-1)
P.S. Check out Congresswoman Pingree's web site.
Here is a summary of Congresswoman Pingree's stance on health care during 2002.
Pingree will push to increase the bargaining power of states. Maine has led the way in attempting to lower drug costs for all residents by negotiating with drug companies for lower prices. However, states need more flexibility from the federal government to negotiate lower prices through the federally funded, state-administered Medicaid program. The creative work done in the states should not be tied up at every turn by this powerful industry. States should be allowed more flexibility under the law to seek creative solutions. Any state should be able to negotiate for lower prices from drug companies that provide drugs to the state's Medicaid program -- and pass those discounts on to anyone who lacks prescription drug coverage, not just those on Medicaid.
Allow states to negotiate lower drug prices
Pingree will push to make lower priced, quality generic drugs available to consumers. Many people could save enormous amounts of money by buying high-quality, lower priced generic drugs, which often cost 25-60% less than expensive name-brand drugs. However, pharmaceutical companies use their influence to keep quality generic drugs off the market,. National drug policies should lower the barriers erected by the big drug companies and make quality generic drugs available to consumers.
Fight drug companies to make generic drugs available
Pingree called for passage of a National Patients Bill of Rights that includes additional privacy protections for patients. "Keeping your medical records protected from the marketing departments of the pharmaceutical companies is a basic right that patients deserve," said Pingree. "A National Patients Bill of Rights that includes privacy protections will ensure that doctors and heath care professionals -- not big drug or insurance companies -- make important heath care decisions."
Patient's Rights to protect privacy
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