The Hon. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
US House of Representatives
January 2, 2010
Dear Rep. Herseth Sandlin
I read with interest your recent flyer sent to my home (my wife and I both received one!) concerning your admirable work supporting the Veteran's Administration and their excellent health care system. I applaud your efforts in this area – especially your efforts to inform recent veterans especially of the services available to them.
However, I would be very receptive to hear some news of your work supporting the health care for the rest of us. When I called in to South Dakota Public Radio and asked why ordinary South Dakotans don't also deserve affordable access to health care, your response included a long (quite condescending in my opinion) discussion on how we have a "special relationship" with our veterans and that we simply can't afford to provide health care to everyone. You also brought up the meme that rural health care is being shortchanged my Medicare. (This line of argument, run by protectors of the immoral status quo in health care such as you and Kent Conrad (D [sic] - North Dakota) has been strongly refuted by clear evidence (Ezra Klein, Wash. Post, 12/9/ (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/12/does_medicare_discriminate_aga.html).
(Dear readers: this exchange is here online at about 15:00 on the "tape") -- thank you SDPB)
Unless you turn around and support health care access, your re-election campaign may run into a major roadblock – the South Dakota Democrats who expect you to help people, not the health-care and health insurance industry. This business is one-sixth of our economy, and that is way too much.
America needs health care reform and will demand it. Even West River Republicans that I know are starting to get very impatient with Congress. South Dakota Democrats I know have gotten to the point that unless you do a major about-face on this issue, your base is likely to vote Republican for your House seat next fall to keep your inflexibility from holding up the Democratic majority in the House. The need for reform is that bad.