Healthcare Reform by Email

12nw. Tauzin.jpgBaltimore An email comes from the POTUS or President Obama as he’s more widely known, and you think, gee, something’s up.  Maybe they are taking this fight seriously for a change?  But, then you remember this is just an email, which is different from a real fight.

Nonetheless those who are intent of fear mongering and sowing misinformation were none too happy about even the emails.  According to a story by David Herszenhorn and Robert Pear, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, urged Mr. Obama to “cease this program,” adding, “I am not aware of any precedent for a president asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech.”   Why the upset?  Well, someone named Macon Phillips with “new media” in the White House asked for help in his blog and wants folks to report examples of mess to the government:  “If you get an e-mail or see something on the Web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.”

That’s a flag we can all salute to!

Of course you start emailing out and some people are going to make the mistake of also thinking that you want some input on what you are doing – or not doing – to really fix the health care system.  A friend and long time comrade of mine from Miami, proving that once an organizer, you never forget some of the skills, seized on that email to sizzle a steamer back to the White House and the POTUS about why he thought the proposal was less than half a loaf already and needed more baking.

He talked about being felled by a life threatening problem, saved by a good doc, held in ICU for 2 months, and then getting out to find a life of hell in dealing with nearly 20 different companies and collectors trying to dun him for bills, dreading the phone calls, and finally negotiating away thousands and thousands of a payment plan that totals almost a lifetime obligation of nearly $300 per month on top of the fact that he and his wife have to pay for special insurance (employer pre-existing problem), etc, etc, etc…this is not an unusual story, just one penned on a computer and sent back to the President.  The difference is that if the President or any of the folks reading the emails read the whole message it still comes down to the fact that under the current diluted compromise, my friend would not be in much different shape from his reading AFTER “winning” the current health care “reform” than he is now.

He was gentle with the President.  He didn’t want him to blow it, but the whole exchange made me wonder yet again, if we are fighting for real reform or just something a little better than the mess we are in now.  Reading the whine from million dollar drug lobbyist (and ex-south Louisiana Congressman Billy Tauzin) that the drug industry has “cut a deal” with the Administration and wants to make sure that they don’t have to save “more than $80 billion” in overcharges gives me real pause.  [Did he have to make the front page just because the health insurance lobbyist was touted as the kingpin the day before in the paper?  Come on, Billy?!?]  I get it and I’m sure Jim Messina, our old friend from Montana, was doing what he was told in trying to work with Senator Baucus, his ex-boss, to please his new boss, Obama, but still…is this the best deal? And how much more might have been on the table?

Send those questions to flag@whitehouse.gov.  Let me know what they reply.

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