Health Care Reform, Part I: My reply to President Obama

Last week, I received an email from President Obama.  He wrote,

“Nancy, The chance to finally reform our nation’s health care system is here.”

He continued, “As we know, challenging the status quo will not be easy. Its defenders will claim our goals are too big, that we should once again settle for half measures and empty talk.”

In his post, President Obama cautioned, “Left unanswered, these voices of doubt might yet again derail the comprehensive reform we so badly need. That’s where you come in.”  Me?

Yes, he was asking me (and the other gazillion Americans on his e-list) to sign a petition telling Congress to support his three core health care principles and urging me to tell my personal story because hearing about real life hardships will help Congress make the right decision.

When I clicked on the link included in his post to check out the petition, I was surprised that the words “single-payer national health insurance” were not included in his “core principles,” which are described as his “bedrock requirements for real health care reform:”

  • Reduce Costs — Rising health care costs are crushing the budgets of governments, businesses, individuals and families and they must be brought under control
  • Guarantee Choice — Americans must have the freedom to keep whatever doctor and health care plan they have, or to select a new doctor or health care plan if they choose
  • Ensure Quality Care for All — All Americans must have quality and affordable health care

In his post, the President wrote, “I know personal stories can drive that change…”

But I suspect he was not including himself among the ones whose position needs to change. Nevertheless, this is my reply:

President Obama, I’m so disappointed! Your core principles sound like more empty talk about half measures.  You’re leaving the door wide open for the Congress to write anything as long as it’s called “health care reform.”

How can the Congress develop a plan for reform if they’re not even listening to what thousands of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are advocating? No single-payer advocate has been invited to testify! And why are these medical experts being forced to commit acts of civil disobedience and get arrested to be heard?

Moreover, why aren’t you endorsing the “United States Health Care Act” (H.R. 676)? This legislation has already been written and was introduced by Reps. Conyers, Kucinich et al immediately after your inauguration on January 26, 2009!

In your email, President Obama, you concluded, “Last November, the American people sent Washington a clear mandate for change. But when the polls close, the true work of citizenship begins. That’s what Organizing for America is all about. Now, in these crucial moments, your voice once again has extraordinary power. I’m counting on you to use it.”

This is my voice, Mr. President, and I’m counting on you to listen.

What happened to your support for single payer national health insurance? Why are the growing majority of Americans’ demands for single-payer health care being ignored? Why isn’t single-payer health care reform even under consideration?

The Physicians for a National Health Program proposal states, “We endorse a fundamental change in America’s health care – the creation of a comprehensive National Health Insurance (NHI) Program. Such a program – which in essence would be an expanded and improved version of Medicare – would cover every American for all necessary medical care.”

This is a simple proposal for health care reform, written in plain English.  This is what I thought I would hear you advocating.  Please, Mr. President, it’s not too late for you to embrace this one core principle for the sake of your people.

~Nancy Logsdon Mandelkorn

2 responses to “Health Care Reform, Part I: My reply to President Obama

  1. Nancy, I’m so glad you wrote this blog. I also received President Obama’s e-mail and was disappointed about what I found upon further investigation. It does sound like a half measure — like he is caving already to Big Pharma and all the other monied heavy weights at the crux of what is ruining health care in the first place.

    Single-payer is too much like the Universal care plan that Hillary Clinton promoted years ago to be viable this go around. It’s a hot coal no one wants to touch. Dead on arrival.

    What I don’t understand is why there can’t be compromise. Single-payer for all who want it competing against private enterprise — something for everyone.

    http://doctorblue.wordpress.com

    • Thanks for your comment, doctorblue. It does seem like PBO has already decided to go with the money. However, I continue to hope that his mind is open and that it will change.

      Although your reasoning for finding a compromise seems fair, it sounds very similar to the reasons Sen. Baucus gave when asked about why single-payer health insurance was not under consideration.

      Baucus said it was because single-payer couldn’t pass. That it was dead on arrival. I think this is code which means that many in Congress don’t want to give up their big money donors from the health care industry. So he’s trying to make sure the single payer legislation doesn’t make it onto the table.

      We must pay attention and keep advocating for an expansion of Medicare that will cover all Americans and be paid for by our taxes. Our tax dollars pay for the government to wage war; therefore, our tax dollars should also provide health care for all of our citizens.

      Single-payer is the only real solution for true reform.

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