March 19th, 2010
09:29 AM ET

Dear President Obama #424: “I Pledge Allegiance...to Health Care Reform”

Reporter's Note: President Obama has challenged people from time to time to effectively put up or shut up. When it comes to health care, that might be a good idea. At least it is an interesting notion to talk about in my daily letter to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/03/03/health.care.gop.ideas/story.obamadoc.gi.jpg caption="President Obama delivers remarks on health care reform on March 3."]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

As I write this I am rumbling north on the CNN Express between Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama, and thinking about something I suggested some time ago.

Sometimes I look back on ideas I have had and I think, “What? Were you drunk?” (Actually, I pretty much don’t drink so the question is usually more like, “Did you get conked in the melon by a door?”) But the particular idea I am dwelling on now was good then and still is.

If you want to get health care passed as you burn into this final phase, I have one sure fire way for you to shift at least some measureable number of voters back into your camp: Have all your Democratic pals who support it stand on the Capitol steps at noon today and sign a pledge that they and their families will no longer, ever again, in any way shape or form, get any kind of health care except what they can obtain through the system they want for the rest of us. No exceptions.

No calling up the doc’s office and saying, “Hi, this is Congressman Boilinghead and I know you have no appointments this afternoon, but I’m really pressed for business in DC. How about fitting me in?” No more, “This is Senator Bulgingpocket’s aide, and he needs you to take a look at his knee this afternoon.”

I am not being snarky about this. I am dead serious. What better way is there to prove that you really believe this is going to work? What sparked all this was a report I read about your latest physical; about how they ran fancy tests on you that are not routine and would drive the cost of health care into space if they were given to every American who needed a checkup. I get it.

The life of the person who fills the president’s chair is of unusual importance to the nation. But you could sign the pledge for afterward; agreeing that neither you, nor your wife, nor your daughters (if by chance you don’t win re-election and they are still at home) will get any special treatment no matter what troubling medical situations you may face after your presidency is done.

Maybe this sounds too tough for lawmakers to get on board, but isn’t that the point? Whether any given American family loves or despises your plan, if it passes we will all have to live with it. And I’m not convinced that all the people passing the votes will…that’s unfair and can be corrected. Do it today, and you’ll be astonished at how many Americans will at very least give your plan a second look.

If you have some time to call we can go over the details. After all, at the moment, I’m just rocking down the road in the bus.



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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Letters to the President • Opinion • Tom Foreman
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