Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Open Letter - Part 2 - Health Care Reform

Dear President Obama,

You may recall I wrote to you almost two years ago congratulating you on your Presidential victory. Today, I thought it appropriate to thank you for coming this far, and let you know it's only a start, and people who want health care for all are not about to back down. I hope you're not either.

You see, I knew you'd disappoint me a thousand times over in your four or eight years in office. I knew there would be times when I would feel like I got kicked in the gut - hard. And during these past few days of making deals, I never doubted for a minute that my side - the side that thought the legislation didn't go far enough - would be forced to compromise once more because we always, always, always believe the other guys when they say they won't support our policies. Always. And we must care about passage more than them because we can't fathom making the argument "I couldn't allow many good things to happen in health care reform because it wasn't even close to as much as I wanted" where they can apparently stomach saying "I wanted to vote for health reform but some talk show host told me it would provide for publicly funded abortions, and since apparently I CANNOT read or think for myself, I have to believe them. So there. Cut me a deal or I have to back out." And in this case, we ended up with an executive order assuring those anti-choice democrats that the Hyde amendment is alive and well. Then the news media reported that everyone compromised. I have to say, though, after a while it stops feeling like compromise. Sure, you can say we made an enormous step forward - and yes, that's important. But it's hard not to think about how we have no public option (something the majority of the country - and you! - support). Why does the likes of Kucinich always say mercy when Stupak gets to scream like Helen when she's been denied a piece of candy after brushing her teeth and then extract an executive order out of you? Why can't Stupak compromise?

But I guess that's all water under the bridge now. Thank you for the provision that bars insurance companies from dropping people because they got sick; thank you for the provision that doesn't allow insurance companies to bar people from coverage because of their pre-existing conditions; thank you for eliminating the concept of lifetime caps. Thank you also for allowing Helen and Connor to stay on my insurance until they turn 26 if they need it. I may not want them spending every night at my house, but I suspect I'll be happy to keep insuring them if they need it. No thank you for the tax complexity this bill created, although maybe it's a blessing in disguise since it might mean many more years of employment for me. (Be sure to catch my speech in April on tax complexity for low-income families - I'll drop you an invite when the date gets closer). Also, no thanks for taking this one over the river, through the woods, and everywhere else possible before something was finally passed. I suffer from heartburn occasionally, and I don't like additional stress. Although, I suppose it was nothing compared to what you and others were feeling every day--knowing that if you failed it was going to be a big F***ING deal in a bad way. But that reminds me, please thank Joe for dropping the F* bomb over the microphone. In case you couldn't tell, I agree with him.

Please don't forget all the promises you made on your way to the Presidency. You've got at least two more years left at this gig.



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