“Bernie Sanders is right — powerfully right”

Brent Budowsky, a contributor to the website, The Hill, wrote a very important piece yesterday which should set off alarm bells for every American, young and old. The article can be found here, and below you will find a highlighted version of it.

Sanders battles big insurance premium increases | TheHill

I emailed Mr. Budowsky after reading his article, asking him how people can fight back and respond to this financial assault on their wallets. He kindly responded with the following suggestions:

“Schatzie, one thing you can do is contact your congressman, senator, and suggest your readers do the same to alert them to the importance of fighting against the premium increases that insurers are going to try to push through. And at the state government level the insurance commissioners and state gov’t officials. That would do a lot. You might write yourself to your congressman and senators and publish your letters so your readers can work from there to reach their representatives….that would be a pretty good place to begin….thx for writing, Brent”

And CNBC also reported on the proposed rate hikes being requested for 2016. Here are just some examples of increases being requested for some states:

Illinois: 23% increase
Kansas: 37% increase
Minnesota: 54% increase
New Mexico: 51% increase
North Caroline: 25% increase
Oklahoma: 31% increase
Oregon: 25-33% increase
Pennsylvania: 40% increase
Tennessee: 36% increase
Texas: 32% increase
Utah: 45% increase

Under federal rules, increases of over 10 percent are subject to review by each state’s insurance commissioner. For a listing of your EMPLOYEES in Congress (yes, please remember that they work for YOU!), please use this link and just put your zip code in the identifying section to the left. Your state and district member of Congress (remember, they work for YOU) can be found. You can either call or use the contact form to the right of their name. I am sorry to say that Mitch McConnell represents me (ha ha!) and so this is what I wrote to him:

Dear Turtle (just kidding):
I urge you to reign in Kentucky’s insurance rate premiums and hold any possible increase to below 10 percent for 2016. Careful review and oversight by the insurance commissioner is necessary to keep this important expense as low as possible for the average Kentuckian. The time is now to stop increases for next year and for years to come.

Your ACTUAL boss, remember? (just kidding again)

To send such a message using the contact forms in the link above will take, in total, under 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes can potentially save you and other Americans thousands of dollars, which will then not go directly into the insurance industry’s pockets.

The next person to contact may be even more important. You can bet your state’s insurance commissioner doesn’t get the “blow back” that your Congressional representative receives. Unfortunately, they’re not as easy to reach. If you use this link to find your state’s insurance commissioner  and then either click on the map to find your representative, or put your state into the drop down menu on the left of the page, it will pull up information for you, but you’re going to have to look around. It’s easy enough to find WHO your state’s commissioner is. The actual way to get your message across is convoluted, but TOTALLY worth the effort. There didn’t seem to be a way for me, for example, to email a message to my state’s commissioner. The message I gave over the phone to her office was as simple as this: “Please carefully review any increase in insurance premiums for Kentucky and I strongly ask you to keep ANY increases BELOW 10 percent. Strongly.” Yes, that’s what I actually said.

Additionally, the National Association of Insurance Commissioner website will tell you if your state’s commissioner is elected OR appointed. That is another way to get your point across. An ELECTED insurance commissioner can be told that you will actively work against their re-election if rates are increased beyond a very minimal level. If your commissioner is appointed, put pressure on whoever appointed them.  Here is a link to that page.

In the words of Thom Hartmann, “Democracy is not a spectator sport. Tag, you’re it!”