Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Last Ditch Effort

Below is a letter I wrote to President Obama in a last ditch effort to convince him and his administration to back th public option. Feel free to do with it what you wish.

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing because time is running out to put a stop to the immoral conduct (when it is not downright criminal) of health insurance companies that use the free market as an excuse to raise premiums unreasonably, to drop customers who threaten their bottom line, to let them die for profit's sake. You, Mr. President, may be the common man's last bastion against these profiteers.

That is why I am writing. To remind you of the hope you represent for the middle class, of the power you have to make good things happen. You speak beautifully, Mr. President, but you will be judged not for what you say in your beautiful speeches, but for the actions you took in support of the speeches you made.

I am also writing to ask that you fight for our freedom. Freedom, you see, is not just a slogan to use on the stump, or to rally the "troops" behind a common cause (as when your predecessor said that "terrorists hate us for our freerdom"). Freedom is a tangible asset, too. But for too many, when it comes to health care, it is as intangible or inconsequential a concept as there ever was. What does freedom mean, if your choice is limited to the least harmful, less overpriced product? (One that, to add insult to injury, will soon be mandated at the individual level) What freedom do you have when you are all but chained to your employer because you cannot afford to lose your health benefits? What is freedom when you must use what little money is left at the end of the month to pay outrageous medical bills or premiums that no other resident of any civilized nation could even begin to imagine?

And, Mr. President, what is the meaning of freedom when your only hope against an expensive chronic medical condition (not necessarily a catastrophic one, but one that consumes, day after day, both your financial resources and your will to fight) is that you will fall below the poverty line, so you can receive public assistance if it is not too late?

I know that your plan addresses some of these issues, albeit too timidly. But it is not enough. What I hope, Mr. President, is that you will fill freedom with meaning, by backing the public option at last. It is, after all, only an option. Not a mandate or a socialist takeover of health care, but a choice, for those who want it. Freedom without options is just a word. Please make freedom tangible for Americans of all political convictions and walks of life.


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