Letter to the Editor

Vote bill down

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dear Editor,

Last Wednesday I attended the campaign "kick-off" for hometown Sen. Ben Nelson. And ... I agree and support the Honorable Senator on many items and am generally pleased with what Sen. Nelson has done for not only his hometown but also Nebraska.

(But) in his speech last Wednesday he mentioned how he supported making insurance more affordable for small business owners. In fact, Sen. Nelson is co-sponsor of Senate bill 1955, also known as "The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act."

This bill was voted out of committee recently and could be taken up by the full Senate as early as this week. Senator Nelson was quoted in a press release concerning this matter as saying "The continuing problem of skyrocketing health care costs is a grave threat to our working families. This action by the HELP Committee today is the first step in addressing this problem."

While I agree with Sen. Nelson about the rising healthcare costs I disagree with his stand on this bill.

In its current language it would allow insurance companies to exclude certain cancer screening coverages now guaranteed by current insurance regulations.

I believe if these early detection screenings are excluded when you could discover cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages it would actually cause an increase in costs for everyone in the future. If this bill passes the Senate in its current language it could be a step in the wrong direction.

I recognize the increasing cost of insurance and healthcare in this country, yet I know how important prevention and early detection programs are and how these programs can actually save insurance companies money.

So with that I would like to close by asking anyone who has been impacted by cancer to contact Sen. Nelson and Sen. Hagel asking them to vote against S.1955, until any and all coverages guaranteed by current regulations would not be lost.

Let's fight to become "One Nebraska Voice" working to eliminate suffering and death due to cancer by 2015.


Shane Smith


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