February 1, 2010
Pres. Barack Obama
1600 Pensylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C. 20500
I operate a small weekly newspaper in Espanola, NM. You visited here in September 2008 when campaigning.
The Rio Grande Sun was started by my parents in 1956. I don't need to tell you the state of newspapers today. It's hard out there for an editor.
My largest expense is payroll. The next is printing. The third is health care.
I have cut other expenses or not replaced employees who have left on their own to avoid layoffs. I will go into reserves to avoid layoffs. Not many newspapers have that luxury.
I have cut pages and "tightened" the newspaper to lower printing costs.
Health care I can do nothing about. I pay all of the premium for my 13 full-time employees. I also pay their deductible and share in their costs to meet the maximum out-of-pocket expenses.
There are two employees on thyroid medication. They both require quarterly blood tests. Insurance doesn't cover the tests. I pay for them. Last year I paid $204 per month, per person. With minimal small insurance claims and no major claims, my rates went up 35 percent this year.
Instead of paying the ransom, I dropped to a plan with a higher deductible, which I will again pay. The employees will have the same coverage. My gamble is that no one will have a catastrophic event and force me to pay the $4,000 deductible. This is how I deal with health insurance.
I did some calculations regarding my old health plan of 1995 when I received my renewal notice last month. In 1995 I paid $112 per person for a great plan: low copay, no deductible, $15 prescription card. That plan today would cost me over $600 per person.
Mr. President, please keep fighting the lobbyists and business-owned right that does not want real reform in this country. Little people like me need you advocating for common sense. Health care reform must happen if we're to move forward as a country.
Robert B. Trapp