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    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    Patrick's Letter to the White House Re: Health Care

    Dear Mr. President,

    I have no idea whether or not this email will reach you, or whether it will (almost certainly) be read one of your staff instead. But I feel compelled to try and reach you anyway. I've just finished reading a distressing article in the Wall Street Journal and I certainly hope it's conclusions are unfounded. It states that you are willing to give up any demand for a public option for health care as a part of the reform package your administration is currently writing. I cannot overstate how angry and disappointed such a move will make me. Me, and millions of others who voted for you too.

    Last year, I donated hundreds of dollars - money that I really could not afford to throw around on a whim - to your campaign, and voted for you proudly. Thousands and thousands of your supporters did the same. We did not give up time and money so that the HMOs could be appeased with a huge giveaway for them. Health care reform without a public option is not reform of any kind. It's a sham disguising itself as reform. If you sign a health care reform bill into law that lacks a public option in the name of compromise, then I am sorry, but you have lost my vote, my money and my time, and you won't get it back.

    The Republicans don't want a public option. WE DON'T CARE WHAT THE REPUBLICANS WANT. And neither, frankly, should you. There is a reason that they have been annihilated in the last two elections - their ideas are terrible and have all but wrecked the country, and we have soundly rejected them as a party. The country is NOT yearning for bipartisanship. The country does NOT want to see the Democrats reach out and give up 40 percent of any legislation they pass to GOP far-right-wing nonsense. We want what Canada, and the UK, and France, and every other industrialized Western nation has enjoyed for decades: health care for ALL citizens, and real health care, not an illusory coverage that disintegrates the moment one of us becomes seriously ill. A health insurer that only wants to cover me when I'm not sick is like something out of Franz Kafka. We need an option that views providing health care to its patients as the primary reason for its existence, not something to be given up grudgingly only after all dodges and excuses have been exhausted.

    The HMOs have complained loudly that a government-run health care system will run them out of business. Well, WE DON'T CARE IF THAT HAPPENS. The sole purpose for health care providers' existence is to help sick people get well. It is not to increase the value of executives' stock options and it is not to serve as a bold declaration of the vibrancy and efficacy of the free market and the capitalist system. Health care is a RIGHT. It's not a privilege, and it's not an opportunity. If HMOs are more concerned about maximizing profit than maximizing lives saved, then they deserve to be driven out of business.

    Not everything in this world should be about making a buck.

    This is really too important. By even suggesting that your administration is not willing to go all the way on this, you are gambling with people's lives. You are giving the enemies of health care reform the ammunition they need to whittle away support in Congress. Please let us know that this article misstated the case. Please don't tell us you're going to walk away from another fight in order to minimize conflict. There's a time to reach out and there's a time to push back. And you can't reach out to a party that offers you nothing but a closed fist.

    I know you've often said that we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    But, Mr. President, sometimes the good is just not good enough.

    Please fight for real health care, with a public option for all. I sincerely thank whoever in the White House reads this letter for your time.

    ______________________

    3 comments:

    Brigid Fitch said...

    Pat, I agree with 99% of your open letter. My only quibble is that it's not just the Republicans opposing the public option, but a few Dems, too--Mary Landrieu, Kent Conrad, Maria Cantwell, and a few others.

    But if it makes you feel any better, it appears that Emanuel misspoke in that WSJ interview. Obama found out about what was said & issued an official statement this afternoon from Moscow:

    "The White House issued an official statement declaring that Mr. Obama remains committed to the public option."

    Source: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/07/obama-overrides-aide-on-health-insurance-public-option/

    It's not over yet.

    Anonymous said...

    I don't think Emanuel misspoke. I think it was just a trial balloon and when enough people freaked out over it Obama had to walk the comment back.

    It does seem that the anger of the left has a little bit of pull over things, as reports are that Harry Reid has told some senators to stop moving to the right to try and pick up Republican votes. So maybe there's hope.

    --Patrick

    c-collins said...

    I agree with Pat on this. They were testing the waters to see how hard they were really going to have to fight for us. A trigger would have been a much easier battle, but it would be totally unacceptable.