Reporter's Note: President Obama is steaming toward the finish line with health care reform. I am steaming forward with my letters to the White House. One every day.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
I was chasing my dog around the family room early this morning playing our much beloved game of “Who has the tennis ball?” (sure, it sounds simple, but for her it’s like Monopoly) and suddenly I sat down on the carpet, stunned by a realization. Or perhaps it was because I had just whacked my head on the coffee table. Nonetheless, I was struck by the simple realization that I really do not know what your health care plan will cost me.
Honestly. I’ve studied it more than most ordinary voters. I’ve talked to experts. I’ve gone over the stats with a calculator. I’ve even boiled pots of herbs, and inhaled the vapors beneath a full moon, waiting for a revelation. No such luck.
You have told us plenty of times that it will reduce the deficit after ten years. But that’s an assessment of what it will do to or for the federal budget, not my own. For example, if a town wanted to build a ten million dollar road and it just increased property taxes and tolls by ten million dollars to pay for it; or if the new road saved ten million dollars in repairs to the old roads; that measure would be deficit neutral. But voters might see a profound impact on their personal deficits, if you know what I mean.
What I am suggesting is that as you push toward a final vote on this thing, you will have a much better chance of tipping public opinion back in your favor (and you may notice it has been running downhill if you put out a clear, concise explanation in real dollars and cents about how this is going to affect me. Well, not just me. I don’t suppose John McHardwarestore in Idaho cares about my personal finances. But you know what I’m saying: How much this plan…the one you are pushing now…really save or cost any given family? Soup to nuts. None of that car dealer, “Oh, you want wheels on that?” nonsense. Give me the total and let me decide if I like it or not.
If the plan is as good as you say, letting people fully understand how it will impact them will be good too. I know this seems like an outrageously simple idea, which is why I am so surprised I’ve seen so little evidence of your team doing it. Have I merely overlooked it? As it is, I feel like I’ve heard too much about its impact on government (which, yes, I understand could ultimately affect taxpayers) but not nearly enough about the impact on citizens.
So let us know if you can. Both the dog and I are now curious. And if you just want to call and explain, that would be fine too.
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