Monday, March 01, 2010

An Open Letter to the President and Congress on Health Care Reform

Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress:

Frankly, the only longterm solution to this nation's insurance industry woes is single payer. As long as there is profit to be made from health care, there will be corruption. Likewise, as long as there is profit to be made from war, there will be war.

Just as one can only view de-escalation as a step toward demilitarization, one must also see the insurance industry overhaul that is before Congress now as a small step in the direction of ensuring equal opportunity to life-saving medicine, prevention of disease, and longevity.

It is not accidental that men, and women of color have markedly shorter life expectancies than their Caucasian counterparts. This inequity must be addressed, and sooner rather than later.

It's also not coincidental that the rich live longer than working Americans. How many working people , when diagnosed with cancer, can afford treatment at Sloan Kettering, or the Mayo Clinic, treatment that will extend their lives?

The U.S. currently has troops in more than 30 countries around the world, but we can't feed our own people, nor provide shelter for all our people, nor immunize all our people against childhood diseases. Many more will die from second rate medical treatment, or delayed treatment, than have died in both world wars combined. This is egregious.

Change will be incremental. We may not like that, but we have to accept it. Even if Congress manages to pass legislation that will guarantee that pre-existing conditions cannot preclude one from either obtaining insurance, or continuing it, and even if a bill passes that enables working people to continue to keep their insurance affordably after their employment is terminated, that will be better than nothing that is unless that legislation requires people who can barely afford to pay their rent to dole out monthly premium checksto the insurance industry.

There can be no confusing universal health coverage with a mandate to carry health insurance, or pay a stiff penalty. Stiff penalties need to be imposed on war contractors like XE, banks, AIG, Goldman Sachs, and the executive floor of Fortune 500 companies. We see where trickle down has gotten us--- nowhere. Reaganomics doesn't work, even when ittries to masquerade itself as Obamanomics.

A slap on the wrist won't suffice, either. We've got to eradicate corporate gluttony at its roots. Don't worry about giving tax breaks to small business, or eliminating the capital gains tax, Mr. President, and worry instead about who have been systematically stealing from working Americans, as well as the poor.

Throw Citigroup out of their executive offices if that's what it takes to stop Mr. and Mrs. Smithfrom facing foreclosure on the home they've lived in for the past thirty years.

Passing a measure to reform the broken health care system in this country
is only a baby step, and must be part of a larger vision, one that affirms not merely the right to life, but the life to a quality life, one that empowers working people again.

Eventually, this canonly end in Medicare for all---single payer, government run health insurance system, such as the one that has worked for generations in Europe. Anything less is shortchanging Americans, and bankrupting the American dream.