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Response to Congressman Rooney

August 23, 2017
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

Congressman Rooney's commentary explaining his conservative agenda, and how he has advanced it, demonstrates he has lost sight of what the word truly means. Simply, he supports large corporations and insurance companies, the jobs of executives and CEO, rich and powerful, at the expense of the rest of us.

"Strengthening border security" is a hollow gesture considering that there are 2,000 unfilled border patrol jobs due to lack of qualified personnel. Building a wall at taxpayers' expense when every homeland terrorist attack was done by those who flew into the country is a waste of money, not a sound fiscal investment.

Rolling back job killing regulations is another way for saying "make the rich richer." The regulation cited by Rooney, allowing employees to have payroll deductions put into IRAs, was initiated to provide an inexpensive way for employees to automatically save for retirement. Whose job did it kill? Well, those who lobbied against this regulation, moneyed financial planners and Wall Street stockbrokers should tell us. So the average worker wanting to save for retirement is denied that option. Nothing Rooney should be proud of!

Continuing on, one wonders how the Congressman can ask the federal government to fund the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project to protect Florida's environment (costing taxpayers billions) while at the same time opposing Medicaid expansion in Florida (and elsewhere). The expansion would provide health coverage for 800,000 Floridians and create 65,000 health industry jobs. So when Obama sets up a mechanism to provide federal dollars to protect the health of almost a million Floridians that's bad, but asking Mr. Trump to spend billions to protect Florida's environment is OK? Hypocritical? Partisan? Outrageous!

And continuing with health and Floridians, not only does Congressman Rooney oppose expanding Medicaid, he wants to "block grant" existing Medicaid. This would shift the cost by billions to Florida from the Federal government. Either the cost would come out of the Florida budget (some other program or service would have to be cut, likely education) or residents, likely single mothers with children, would be removed from Medicaid coverage. Adding his actions to defund Planned Parenthood (97 percent of their budgets provide non abortion related health care), that provides low cost or free health clinic for women, it seems Mr. Rooney wants to control women's right to have or not to have children, but does not want to provide health care for those that do have kids. Health coverage, including wellness programs and free preventative care, saves employers money in the long run. Savings can be as much as three dollars for every dollar invested. This includes increased productivity and reduced healthcare costs.

Voting to repeal Obamacare means ending small business tax credits for employers with less than 25 employees that voluntarily offer health coverage for employees. Mr. Rooney, please explain why you want to end these tax credits yet provide tax savings for CEOs and insurance company executives? And for Medicare recipients you want to restore the $3,000 prescription drug donut hole while you won't let the Center for Medicare Services negotiate lower drug costs! Again, helping the rich and powerful. Nothing conservative about that. And you want to end the metrics that forced insurance companies to refund $1.4 billion to insurance policy holders because they insurers made too much money! Finally, eliminating Patient Protections, allowing insurance companies to abuse policy holders, is not the act of a fiscal conservative but someone who kneels at the feet of large and powerful lobbyists. So, Mr. Rooney, it is time for you to be honest with the voters.

Mark Lipton

North Fort Myers


Florida House District 79



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