Saturday, August 22, 2009

Out of Form

Here's another non-traditional post in as many weeks (I know this makes little sense but I really like saying 'in as many weeks').
This is the letter I'm writing to my congressional representatives about health care. In the second paragraph I talk about my personal relationship to the health care debate. I hadn't really thought about this until recently, but I know a lot of people who are going to be completely screwed unless meaningful healthcare reform passes. Anyways people need to make sure we let congress know how we feel. Don't let the right wing drown us out.

Dear Representative Charles Rangel,

My name is Joseph Moll and I am a chemistry graduate student at Columbia, a loyal Democrat, and a constituent. I just finished giving a financial donation through ActBlue to the members of the house who have committed to voting against any health care bill that does not include a strong public health care option. I was disappointed to note that my representative’s name is not on that list. I urge you to stand with your progressive colleagues and also make a commitment to vote against any bill without a strong public option.

I take the issue of affordable universal coverage seriously. I have fairly poor coverage through Columbia University although luckily I am young and healthy. Many of my friends and family are not in the same situation. Two of my brothers are completely uninsured. My sister and her husband are both currently unemployed and their family of five is only able to afford a bare bones health insurance plan (with a deductible of $10,000 before 80% coverage kicks in). I sincerely hope nothing happens to one of my three nephews. If a bill is passed that mandates her family to purchase coverage but doesn’t provide them an affordable option (like a strong public option), that’s not fair. They and many others will be understandably angry. Meanwhile, one of my best friends is also in graduate school and unable to afford insurance. While we were undergraduates together she had her thyroid removed because of a medical condition. When she became too old to be on her parent’s health insurance plan, she had to quit taking the drugs which were providing her the hormones a normal person’s thyroid would produce. All she can do is ‘hope’ that nothing bad will come from this. (When she visited me in New York city, we had to take cabs or the subway even very small distances, because of the danger if she were to overexert herself without a thyroid).

Needless to say this is a very personal debate for a lot of Americans. If Congress passes and the President signs a meaningless, watered down health care bill, we will not be happy. As I see it, the progressive members of the house who are standing up for a public option are the American people’s last defense against this happening. I urge you, Congressman Rangel, please join them.