Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Open Letter to Barack Obama

I have a bunch of junk waiting to be turned into serviceable prose few will read, but rather than pursue that or try to write the President directly--he only is given to read a certain number of messages from the people a day after all--I decided to write this open letter to:

President Barack Obama--

I'll keep it short and sweet. The health care bills working their ways through Congress are overly complicated--meaning no one can understand them--expensive, give something to everyone and everything to no one exercises in special interest lobbying that are dragging your poll numbers in general and on what should be your signature initiative into the gutter. You know it, and you know the way out does not lie in negotiating even more convoluted plans doomed to failure or a compromise that will see your public option trashed. You have repeatedly stated the case for universal coverage. Now is the time to act, to tell Congress that it has labored mightily but produced bills that serve no one, that, in fact, are major leaps backward.

What I suggest is that you call on the economists who have repeatedly studied the issues and crunched the numbers, the doctors, and the people who care to stand firm with you. Then you say in your own eloquent way the following:

We need to reconceptualize the entire 'healthcare debate.' We need to go back to basics and put forward clearly that every American has the right to health, to cradle to grave medical care. That right is inviolate, yet as a nation we have failed to honor it. [Clearly, to recognize the right to healthcare is to reject the notion that individuals must be forced to buy insurance if their employers don't buy it for them.]

We intend to join the ranks of civilized nations and design a system that provides that healthcare. This system will be administered by the Federal government as an expansion of a reformed Medicare--i.e. one that serves people's needs, not the special interests of pharmaceutical companies. Rather this Medicare would operate like its legislative sponsors imagined--guanteeing that all Americans will be able to choose their own doctor, subject, of course, to their doctor's ability to see them., and that people will receive the treatment they need, as determined by their doctors, not by insurance managers who know next to nothing about medicine. In other words, if you need a doctor, you go see a doctor.

How do we pay for this. Well individuals and businesses should expect to pay an increased Medicare assessment. You will have numbers, but it is important to emphasize that the demise of private insurers will turn 30 percent to 60 percent of money currently paid to private insurers back to medical care or back to the people who paid it. That is not chump change, and it should make the bill more than manageable.

The point is that hopelessly complex bills that if enacted are bound to lead to all kinds of trickery by health insurers gaming the system and not provide either 'reform' or anything close to universal care. You must stick to the fundamental principle that healthcare is a right subsumed under 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" if nothing else, and that the government can best provide--that is unless you want to create an independent national insurer. Then send your forces out and prepare for the barrages of lies that will rain upon you.

I can imagine what your advisers will say to this plan, and all I can say is that you've listened to them and the polls too much on this one. If you had done the same when deciding to run, you wouldn't be where you are.

Best Wishes,

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