Letter to the Pilot

Monday, August 26, 2002

Lt. Governor on Medicare petition


Since Governor Vilsack and I started the "More Medicare for Iowa" petition drive on July 16, we have been traveling the state encouraging Iowans to join us in calling on our leaders in Washington to deliver a fair share of Medicare for Iowa.

The response has been overwhelming.

At last count, a total of 23,253 people have signed the More Medicare for Iowa petition. People from all over the state have added their names to the list, demanding fairness for Iowa's seniors and health professionals.

People have signed the petition at senior centers, at the Governor's Office booth at the State Fair, and have entered their signatures online at our website, www.moremedicareforiowa. com.

The fax machine at the Governor's office has been busy cranking out signed petitions wired in from around the state. The mailbag is full of petitions arriving daily. It is obvious that Iowans care deeply about the kind of health care that our seniors receive, and are committed to changing this unfairness in the Medicare system that affects us all. Iowans are demanding that their voices be heard, and our national leaders are already beginning to listen.

Governor Vilsack delivered a letter to President Bush during his visit to the Iowa State Fair on August 14, urging the President to take action to deliver more Medicare to Iowa. U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman and U.S. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt were also visiting Iowa that day, and they both received letters from the Governor urging them to help. (The stack of petitions is too tall and heavy to deliver in person, or else we would have given them copies of those, as well.)

This is an election year, and many national political leaders will be crisscrossing our state in support of Iowa Congressional candidates, and also to test the waters for the 2004 Presidential election. Governor Vilsack and I want to encourage all Iowans to take the opportunity to ask these national candidates where they stand on more Medicare for Iowa.

The time is right to push this issue into the national spotlight, and use Iowa's political importance to our advantage. If national political leaders want to win Iowa votes, they had better come up with a fair share of Medicare for Iowa seniors.

Reading the comments from people who have signed our petition, it is clear that people care deeply about this issue. One man said, "This summer I was turned down for an appointment with a doctor who wouldn't take any more Medicare patients. It was the first time that has happened and I really didn't like the feeling!"

Another person wrote, "I work within the home care setting and daily see the elderly population struggling to afford rising medical expenses, sometimes to the point of neglecting themselves. They deserve better - they are our heritage."

Another person said, "It's a 'no-brainer' and I haven't missed an election in 27 years."

Our national leaders are just beginning to understand that Iowans are fed up with this unfair treatment, and we're determined to bring about change.

We have over 23,000 signatures and still counting. If you haven't already done so, it's not too late to sign the petition online at

www.moremedicareforiowa. com.