Health Care Reform – Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr President,

We the people of this country are no longer in control of the debate on Health Care reform that is occurring in Washington. This debate has been co-opted by the special interests of the Health Care Insurance Agencies and the American People are not being heard.

We the people elected you to guide the debate on Health Care as well as the other issues vital to the future of this country. We need you to get engaged on this question and take back the debate so that all parties are heard.

We, those of us listening to quiet voices, have heard all the arguments in voices such as:

I am again embarrassed and ashamed that leaders such as Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have restricted the debates in so clearly a self-serving and narrow way. We know that he and many other members of congress are beholden to large contributions from the special interests that are and have since the time of Jimmy Carter held back progress in this area.

It is time for you, Mr. President, to help lead us out of this nonsense into the light of day that all the other countries of the developed world, and many of the developing world have already seen.

It seems obvious from listening to all the voices, including the more quiet ones, that the largest problem that needs to be addressed is profits acquired by health care insurance companies. This leads to most of the problems that we have now including:

  • The large number of uninsured. Since companies make higher profits by denying coverage, raising premiums and employing hundreds of workers to deny claims.
  • Higher infant mortality in the US than most of the other developed nations.
  • Higher overhead in the delivery of health care – about 24% of every health care dollar spent compared to most other nations where it is more like 7%.
  • The large influence that the health care insurance companies have to protect their own interests.

It seems clear that the way out of this dilemma is for you to let the American People know that you personally support:

  1. Opening the debate in Sen. Baucus committee to all the voices including doctors and nurses voicing their concerns about Single Payer approaches.
  2. Talk publicly about how a new system must include taking the profit out of Health Care Insurance, either by requiring that all insurance for basic coverage be conducted by companies whose sole business is basic health insurance on a non-for-profit basis, or by adopting a single payer system. Separate insurance companies are free to exist to provide extra insurance as long as they are separate companies. I am sure we can all see how companies providing both non-profit basic insurance and for-profit supplemental insurance would be in conflict. This would surely lead to abuses. The lack of profit is a common theme in systems around the world.
  3. Talk about efficiencies that a single payer system would afford, such as a single standard of care and lowered overhead in the delivery of Health Care. This is not a matter of siding with one constituency of the debate, but of siding with what is best for the American People.

We are looking to you to lead and guide in these troubled times. This whole argument of Health Care Reform is being co-opted by the special interests. Since your administration has not sought to lead by drafting the legislation for congress to consider, it seems clear that you cannot sit by and watch while it is being rail-roaded in the wrong direction by the Special Interests.

We must be heard, and you are our leader.

Thanks for listening,

Darrell Duffy
Coos Bay, Oregon.