Saturday, September 5, 2009

"Do Something" Series: Dear Mr. President...

Tomorrow is letter-writing day.

No, it's not a national holiday or some Hallmark-fabricated day. It's letter-writing day tomorrow because we all needed time off today (I am writing this very late on Saturday night - in fact, after midnight, but I'll back-date this post), because it's a long weekend and we have time to write a couple of letters, and also because I said so.

I hereby pledge to write President Obama tomorrow, Sunday, September 6.

On Monday, Labor Day, I will write my two Senators and Representatives. But we'll get to that tomorrow.

I'm keeping things simple in this DO SOMETHING About Health Care Reform Series. There are other more sophisticated bloggers to whom I will eventually link. I'm just a citizen trying to inform herself and her friends and determined to act. I can't stand apathy.

I invite you to keep me company and to write the President as well. Tomorrow. Today, by the time you read this. Sunday. September 6.

Once you have done this, check in with us here and leave us a comment to confirm that you wrote President Obama. Yes, this is a support group, and also a kick in the pants. Call it what you will, but DO SOMETHING. Politely, of course.

Details, information, and help below.

1. Remember the President is giving a speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. The speech will be about health care reform.

2. Bill Moyers is (in the words of Father of Acts of Hope in a book review a few years ago) a national treasure. He socked it to us, and to President Obama, and to the talk shows and Pfizer and a few other entities, in a special message at the end of his show on Friday night.

"....As it is, we're about to get health care reform that measures human beings only in corporate terms of a cost-benefit analysis. I mean this is topsy-turvy — we should be treating health as a condition, not a commodity.

As we speak, Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, has been fined a record $2.3 billion dollars as a civil and criminal — yes, that's criminal, as in fraud — penalty for promoting prescription drugs with the subtlety of the Russian mafia. It's the fourth time in a decade Pfizer's been called on the carpet — and these are the people into whose tender mercies Congress and the White House would deliver us?

Come on, Mr. President. Show us America is more than a circus or a market. Remind us of our greatness as a democracy. When you speak to Congress next week, just come out and say it. We thought we heard you say during the campaign last year that you want a government run insurance plan alongside private insurance — mostly premium-based, with subsidies for low-and-moderate income people. Open to all individuals and employees who want to join and with everyone free to choose the doctors we want. We thought you said Uncle Sam would sign on as our tough, cost-minded negotiator standing up to the cartel of drug and insurance companies and Wall Street investors whose only interest is a company's share price and profits.

Here's a suggestion, Mr. President: ask Josh Marshall to draft your speech. Josh is the founder of the website . He's a journalist and historian, not a politician. He doesn't split things down the middle and call it a victory for the masses. He's offered the simplest and most accurate description yet of a public insurance plan; one that essentially asks people: would you like the option — the voluntary option — of buying into Medicare before you're 65? Check it out, Mr. President.

This health care thing is make or break for your leadership, but for us, it's life and death. No more Mr. Nice Guy, Mr. President. We need a fighter. "

That's the end of the message. To watch the whole thing, go to Moyers's website and click on the video here. (The video is also bopping around on YouTube.)

You can also read the text of the message here or at DailyKos.

3. The major House bill on health care (there are others) is HR 3200. A helpful site from the Annenberg School called debunks some of the lies about it here.

4. Sometime this week we'll post various information sources, but for now, here is a link to one of the more reliable ones, the Kaiser Family Foundation. The health care reform part of the website is here. For a comparative chart of the various health reform plans, go directly here, or click the link on the health reform page. For a history of health care reform efforts in the U.S., click here.

5. Head spinning? You can always go back to this simple presentation.

6. I support single-payer health care. You may or may not. Whether or not you do, I am assuming that you want some kind of health care reform in this country. Write the President and tell him. Be as specific and clear as possible. A brief letter is fine. In fact, it's best.

7. Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) supports single-payer health care, and explains it, too. There's a petition at PNHP, if you are feeling lazy about writing a real letter to the President. There are petitions everywhere. I suggest you do both: sign one of those easy petitions AND write a real letter, which can be an e-mail.

8. Easy e-mail form to contact the President here. Use it.

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
(They ask that you include your e-mail address even if you write snail-mail.)

Phone contact:
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414\
FAX: 202-456-2461
Comments: 202-456-6213
Visitors Office: 202-456-2121

Tomorrow: A little civics lesson on bills and Congress, and another letter-writing day, with information on how to contact your Congressfolk.

Soon: Write your local newspapers. Write the TV stations. Write a magazine. Peeved at the media? Do something about it. We'll help you to do so.

Remember: We welcome your suggestions, stories, and links. I am the final editor, in consultation with the local feline, but I will read whatever you send mindfully.

Photos nicked from my friend janinsanfran's blog, "Can It Happen Here?", one of the best personal blogs on public issues. The photos are from a rally of elders for health care reform.


Fran said...

Jane - this is GREAT. And motivating. Off to do the same. Thanks for the push.

PseudoPiskie said...

I blogged and linked to you. Will write later today.

Algernon said...

Thank you for promoting this kind of activity. It could even become a regular practice with some small effort.

Kirstin said...

Done. Thank you, Jane.

Ken said...

In some countries I'd be shot for what I sent. I didn't say "man up" to Obama, but that was the gist: stop compromising. They hate you already. Compromise is what's destroyed us. It's single-payer and it's Socialized. Let the critics rave. They hate him already.

June Butler said...

I wrote a letter and sent it by email. Thanks, Jane.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Done. Thanks for the impetus!

(I will probably get in all kinds of trouble with the more conservative-minded members of the parish for this---but I really don't care.)

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