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To our next president: Health care is your most important issue to solve

by Jenni Prokopy, the Editrix

Let's pretend it's 2009, and our next prez has just been sworn in. Here's the letter I will write. Will you write one, too?

Dear Mr. or Madam President:

First of all, congratulations. I hope you're getting settled in to your new big house. But don't get TOO settled—Americans are getting more feisty and you've set our expectations for the next four years pretty high.

Believe it or not, health care is your most important issue to solve. I know, you think it's terrorism, or the economy. And hey, you're right—they're both super important.

But when it comes down to it, if Americans are too sick to shop 'til they drop on Black Friday...or too worn down financially from medical bills to even think about shopping at all (not to mention pay their car payments and mortgages)...the economy is going to stay in the crapper.

And if folks can't get medical treatment they need—especially those soldiers who come back from Iraq with extensive, long-term medical needs—how are you going to rally families to support your anti-terrorism efforts when they're exhausted from working second and third jobs to pay off hospital bills?

(And by the way, if loads of us are too ill and immobilized from lack of good care that we can't get out and vote, you won't get a second term to finish what you've started...because I think we all know this change isn't going to happen overnight.) 

To really get our country "healthy" again, you need to get our CITIZENS healthy again. I don't mean to minimize the hugeness of the execution of a national health plan, but we need one, stat.

And I don't pretend to know how that would work. Whether it's a government-managed care network with options to buy into alternative programs, or laws that force all employers to provide coverage (and states to fill the gaps for the unemployed), I really don't care too much how it works. But there's got to be a solution to our health care crisis.

During your campaign, I tracked your health policy positions at the Kaiser Family Foundation's Health08 project, which gave me a great ongoing update on the health care positions of all the candidates. I re-watched Michael Moore's Sicko and got all riled up. I checked out what NPR had to say about health care reform (they're such smarty-pants!) and I read tons of magazine articles and blogs and... well, I know that no individual candidate had the perfect plan, but between all of you, there were enough great ideas to pull together a real solution.

So anyway, I know you're really busy, but I wanted you to know I believe in you. You're the kind of person who will surround yourself with experienced, savvy, creative experts and you'll come up with a plan to get our country healthy again. If you ever just want to vent, or bounce ideas off someone, I and my blogging friends (heck, all of my fellow citizens, actually) would be happy to make some time for you and I bet that together, we could be a great team.

Wishing you all the best, Jenni 

Posted: 1/13/2008 in Venting

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