July 8th, 2009
09:47 AM ET

Dear President Obama #170: The President's fair weather friends on health care

Reporter's Note: Our president, Barack Obama, unlike the Governor of Alaska, I sticking with his job. So I am sticking with mine, writing a letter a day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

This would be an excellent day, even as you travel the world, to be grateful for North Dakota. “Grateful for what?” you may ask. Well, there are the obvious things: It produces an enormous sunflower crop. Lawmakers there laudably chose milk as the state drink. And if any of us ever start feeling like our neighborhood is getting too crowded, the Flickertail State offers a lovely alternative to heavy commutes and long lines at the grocery store.

But the main reason you should be thinking well of North Dakota right now is Senator Kent Conrad. He and some other of your fellow Democrats are helping you keep a campaign promise, even if it looks like they are pushing back on one of your plans at the moment.

Just last week, you were selling the idea of squeezing up cash for health care reform, by slapping new taxes on the more elaborate health benefits offered to workers by their employers. Unfortunately, whatever you intended, it sounded like, “If you are lucky enough to have a really good health care plan, now we’re going to make you pay extra for it.” Not exactly an uplifting message during a recession. But more importantly, that plan would almost certainly have lead to higher taxes for some of the middle-classers who you vowed would not face higher taxes if they voted for you.

See what I mean? Moderate Dems may appear to be publically throwing cold water on your plans, (and you know better than I how much they are annoying the more hard-core liberals in the process) but they are also giving you room to float ideas, and then run away for them if they appear headed for the power lines.

You’ve said yourself that health care reform is going to be difficult; hard to design, hard to execute, and hard to pay for. Let’s face it, if it were easy it might have been done long ago. After all, you’re not the first smart politician to come up with the notion.

Anyway, my suggestion is this: As you settle deeper into the challenges of actually instituting your plans for change, but grateful for friends who oppose you. They may make your job tougher in the short haul, but your actual record of workable results more successful in the long run. I’m just saying.

I assume you are once again dealing with some monster roaming fees in your travels, so that’s why you haven’t called. But feel free when you get back. I’m not going on the road anytime soon, unless something cranks up.



Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. RLWellman

    The Government needs to get their nose out of health care. They can't run medicare, medicaid, social security, or the post office, but they say they can run nationalized health care?

    You have got to be kidding. If they would get their nose out of heath care that we have now, it wouldn't be as expensive. All their controls have driven the price up and up.

    We do not need them to tell us, if we can or can't go see a doctor. Those of you that want nationalized health care, go to Canada. If theirs is so great, why do they come to America to have their operations? It's because they don't want to wait 3-5 years to have a gall bladder removed.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  2. Audrey Papke

    I simply do not know who makes decisions about a woman's health, and what is acceptable. It seems it isn't a woman.

    If you can believe this, gynocologists leave ovarian fibroma masses in women, as they are benign. If you don't believe me, read Internet articles . . .

    I find the practice/attitude that it is acceptable to leave this type of tumor in a female inhumane.

    Some female said to me today, repeating someones BS, that tumors can "turn into cancer." This is not true or doctors would not find it acceptable to simply leave them go grow inside a woman.

    And if removed, and only the tumor and one fallopian tube, all should be fine.

    I want my other ovary back and the male doctor insulted me that it was old and time to come out – my uterus and both ovaries. Short actual cancer, I'd never have opted to have a hysterectomy or oopherectomy.

    I'm going to die when I reach 80 anway, and would have preferred to have some happiness in my life, or if I decided or if this or that . . . If I decided.

    25 years ago this tumor was small and could have been removed, not impeding every aspect of my life. I'm so tired of doctors using scare tactics to hustle a hysterectomy. I don't feel the same, no matter how these very doctors insist we do.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  3. Audrey Papke

    I'm beyond tired of the lies doctors tell.

    The type of tumor I had does not become cancerous.

    In fact, it is often left in the female, ruining her life.

    Why is that? Why would Internet explain that (do male gynocologists think this is alright? Providing it isn't their prostate getting in the way?)

    Ovarian fibroma that could have and should have been removed 25 years ago, if not before.

    They often leave them in, Internet explained. How inhumane.

    Does a male decide that it is alright to leave them in?

    July 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  4. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    So really there's nothing fair "weather" about it! It's sink or swim for the general public as usual.

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    July 8, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  5. Michael C. McHugh

    We should offer people a menu of choices on health care, including cooperatives, expanded Medicare, and subsidized private insurance. That's fine, but if progressives like me do not get the public option at all, there is going to be considerable road rage that will split the Democratic Party, and also be taken out on Republican and conservative opponents of all health care reform.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  6. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Well said Tom! I, of course, haven't got a clue what you actually said, but well said anyway!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    July 8, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  7. Leeny

    Good points. I hate to see Obama's opponents refer to him as just another run of the mill tax and spend Democrat. I feel he has great potential to do a lot of good for this country. Also, as someone who works for a big company and has great health benefits, I'm not thrilled with the idea of getting taxed on them. Granted, I could probably afford it, but it's not like I'm wealthy or anything – my house is all of 900 sq. ft. 🙂

    July 8, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  8. william saunders

    you all make it hard for a person to respond i think you do it on purpose i could not find any link to comment on the lack of security in gov places we should know and people should be fired from the top to the bottom especially those at the top next time if you want someone to comment make it easy i know this is not you subject Anderson so please forward to the female news castor who it should belong to and tell her next time yes we have a right to know about how secure we really are do the lives of all the 911 victims really mean nothing to us it's a disgrace to our country

    July 8, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  9. Joanne Pacicca

    This "Robin Hood" approach to health care equity is simply ludicrous! I have a rich health care plan. The details of which are clearly a choice made by my employer and myself. I do not want to pay for someone else's health plan through taxation. Not only is this a breach of promise concerning the "no tax for American's earning less than $250,000", it is taxation with FALSE representation....is this the best our lawmakers can extract from their wealth of resources and knowledge?

    July 8, 2009 at 9:27 am |