August 4, 2009

Congressman Jared Polis on Health Care Reform.

Congressman Jared Polis has been a longtime friend to elephant, appearing on our talk show, writing for our magazine, giving us advice on this and that. Lately, he’s been in the news re: Obama’s attempt to finallllllly, finnnalllllly, get some universal health care coverage for all Americans. Right now, we’re the only first world country, democracy, not to offer it—and yet we’re spending way more as a society on health care, and getting less, and bankruptcies alone due to lack of coverage are costing us big time. So I was glad, today, to receive this letter on where Mr. Polis is coming from. Santé! ~ ed.

Health care reform is the single most important step we can take to rebuild our economy.  With Americans losing jobs and struggling to care for their families, now more than ever, I am committed to passing legislation that will reform our system to provide health care for all.

From the college grad no longer covered by her parents’ insurance, to the laid-off worker forced to stop going to the doctor to afford groceries for his family, to the cancer patient fighting not just cancer, but also his insurance company to cover costly drugs and treatments—our health care system is broken and only a comprehensive fix will end the suffering of so many from sickness and financial insecurity.

In Congress, we are debating legislation that would implement President Obama’s health care plan to directly address the staggering 47 million Americans without health insurance.  I strongly support the President’s plan, which will help families by reducing health care costs and encouraging preventative care programs to keep kids healthy.  By allowing individuals to keep what they like or to shop around for new coverage, the public option in the plan gives Americans increased choice and the much-needed stability and peace of mind that are lacking in our current health care system.

In addition to bringing coverage to millions of Americans and preventing discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, we must ensure that this bill begins to attack the critical issue of reducing health care costs in our bloated system.  The United States spends 16.5 percent of our GDP on health care costs, while the average among European nations is only 8.6 percent.  We pay more, receive less, and we don’t even cover every American.  We simply must reduce costs in addition to expanding coverage.

The original House bill fell short the President vision, in that it lacked some of the cost-saving policies he articulated.  Accordingly, it required more revenue generating measures to pay for providing coverage including a new surcharge on many small businesses.

I recently sent a letter, along with 20 of my fellow freshmen Democrats, to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, urging her to reduce costs and seek out additional means of funding.  I also made the difficult decision to vote against the bill in its earliest stages to draw attention to this surcharge provision and lack of cost controls as a way to strengthen the bill and its revenue sources before it reaches the House floor.

I made my decision knowing that the bill still had the votes to make it out of my committee.  It passed by a vote of 26 to 22.   My actions were to modify the House bill to better reflect the President’s plan to contain costs so that we have exhausted every possible alternative before resorting to tax increases.   I am happy to say that significant progress has been made on making sure that health care reform is good for families and good for the economy.

Since I raised the issue of the impact of the reforms, I have met with the President, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Speaker Pelosi, and House Leadership several times.  They were very responsive to my concerns and assured me that every step is and will be taken to equitably pay for health care reform.  In response, Speaker Pelosi publicly acknowledged that “in the course of the legislative process, we should be able to find more savings” and has shown a great deal of flexibility in solving this problem by looking for more savings and investigating reducing the surtax.

This is the Congress of hope, change, and progress.  We have a tremendous opportunity to pass a bill for our nation’s health, peace of mind, and economy.  I encourage everyone—especially my colleagues in Congress—to join me in this most important fight.  I eagerly look forward to working with House leadership and the White House to pass health care reform as soon as possible.  America cannot wait.


Jared Polis


Strengthening American Families: Housing Fair

Continuing his efforts to strengthen American families, Congressman Polis is holding a housing fair to help provide immediate assistance to Adams County families facing foreclosure or who are concerned about their current housing and financial situation.  The event will be held Saturday, August 22, from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Margaret Carpenter Recreation Center in Thornton.

What: Congressman Polis Adams County Housing Fair

Who: Congressman Jared Polis

Featuring: The Office of Congressman Ed Perlmutter, the Adams County Housing Authority, the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline, CHFA, City of Thornton, HUD
Featured Lenders Include: Chase, Freddie Mac, Wells Fargo

When: Saturday, August 22, 2009 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Where: Margaret Carpenter Recreation Center, 11151 Colorado Blvd. Thornton, CO 80233

Available Resources Will Include: Personal Meetings with Lenders; Housing and Financial Workshops; Information Resources

***Please RSVP with “Housing Fair” in the Subject Line to[email protected] or call (303) 287-4159 for more information.***

Congress on Your Corner and Community Town Halls

Friday, August 7th
Congress on Your Corner
Vic’s Coffee
1800 Broadway Street
Boulder, CO 80302
8:00 – 9:30 AM

Monday, August 17th
Congress on Your Corner
King Soopers Grocery Store
3600 Table Mesa Drive
Boulder, CO 80305
5:30 – 7:00 PM

Wednesday, August 19th
Eagle County Town Hall
Singletree Community Center
1010 Berry Creek Road
Edwards, CO 81632
4:30 – 5:30 PM

Saturday, August 22nd
Mobile Office Hours at Housing Fair
Margaret Carpenter Recreation Center
11151 Colorado Boulevard
Thornton, CO 80233
10:30 – 11:30 AM

Wednesday, September 2nd
Congress on Your Corner
Boulder Farmers Market
Next to Central Park on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO  80302
5:30 – 7:00 PM

Thursday, September 3rd
Congress on Your Corner
Lafayette Farmers Market
South Public Road and West Chester
Lafayette, CO 80026
5:30 – 7:00 PM

Saturday, September 5th
Congress on Your Corner
Rancho Liborio Grocery Store
850 East 88th Avenue
Thornton, CO 80229
10:00 – 11:30 AM

Saturday, September 5th
Adams County Town Hall
Welby New Technology High School
1200 East 78th Avenue #105
Thornton, CO 80229
1:00 – 3:00 PM

Monday, September 7th
Congress on Your Corner
Louisville Labor Day Fall Festival
Community Park
955 Bella Vista Drive
Louisville, CO,  80027
12:00 – 1:30 PM

Congress on Your Corner
Boulder Creek Hometown Fair
Between 13th Street and 10th Street in Downtown Boulder (along the Boulder Creek Corridor)
Boulder, CO 80302
2:00 – 4:00 PM

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