In your letter yesterday to Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Baucus on health care reform, you mentioned "making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage." I want to make clear my opposition to any sort of mandate forcing American citizens to pay for health insurance. It is not only unfair to force the poorest Americans to pay for health insurance or face federal penalties (and possibly criminal charges), it may also be impractical. We should not force Americans to choose between compliance with a mandate and starvation or homelessness. We also should not force citizens who are self-employed to make similar choices between compliance and career (for those who would be unable to afford insurance while self-employed). Mandatory health insurance is not a solution to the health care crisis.
I am fortunate to be covered by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. If I were to become unemployed, one of my first decisions would be to forgo health insurance coverage even if it were mandated by this kind of provision. It simply makes no sense to exhaust resources I need for bare survival in order to comply with a federal mandate that is not of direct and immediate benefit to me in such circumstances. I hope you will come to understand that mandating purchase of health insurance by citizens will only result in a massive enforcement headache, requiring expenditure of resources that would offset some or all of the savings you might think the nation would realize under your proposal.
Please do not pursue this misguided "reform." The only true reform that will solve the health care crisis is to join the rest of the industrialized world in implementing a single-payer health care system. Large majorities of American citizens support such a plan.
Thank you for your time,