The Common Good

Letter to Congress on Health Care



Dear Senators and Members of Congress:

A lot of us out here-in red states and blue-would like to get your attention about health-care reform. Some of us are terrified of government inefficiency, and some of us are terrified of big business price gouging. That's a divide that looks hard to bridge, until you consider the things we agree about:

  • We are not influenced by the lawyers' lobby, and we would like caps on malpractice lawsuits.
  • We are not influenced by the pharmaceutical lobby, and we do not care for incessant drug marketing, high-priced duplicate designer drugs, or drugs that cost ten times more in the U.S. than in other countries.
  • We are not influenced by the insurance lobby, and we would like a lot more direct health-care service with a lot less red tape from middlemen. Also, we don't want to lose our insurance right when we need it.
  • We are not influenced by the medical lobby, and we would like more primary care from pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants, and midwives. We also would like to know what procedures cost so we can comparison shop.
  • We would like existing government programs to operate more efficiently.
  • We would like our health care to be independent of our employment.
  • We are smart enough to understand that no government and no insurance company can pay for every possible procedure for every individual, but we agree that Americans should be able to figure out a way to provide basic health care for most.

Many of our fears-and many of your proposals so far-have been heavily influenced by lobbyists' exaggerations, misrepresentations, and lies. This is true whether we, or you, are Republicans or Democrats.

Suggestion: Put all the money you've received from lobbyists into a fund that provides free health-care clinics for the poor. (This may not be enough money to do much for the millions of uninsured, but it will certainly clear your mind.) Erase all thoughts of fine meals or vacations you have shared with you lobbyist friends. Try not to think about the fact that you may lose the next election and will become a lobbyist yourself.

And then listen to what we want from you.

You can do this, if you are not already hopelessly entangled in a corrupt system.

Sincerely,

My PhotoLaVonne Neff is an amateur theologian and cook; lover of language and travel; wife, mother, grandmother, godmother, dogmother; perpetual student, constant reader, and Christian contrarian. She blogs at Lively Dust.

To learn more about health-care reform, click here to visit Sojourners' Health-Care Resources Web page.

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