President Obama renewed his call for health-care reform in his first State of the Union address but, as has been the case from the start of the current debate over how to get more medical care at less cost, he provided little in the way of leadership.
Rather, he suggested that, even at this late stage in the wrangling over reform, he is open to suggestions for how to achieve it.
Said Obama of what remains a vaguely-defined and ever evolving set of reform proposals:
As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we’ve proposed. There’s a reason why many doctors, nurses and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo.
But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.
Let me know. Let me know.
I’m eager to see it.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, raised his hand at this point. Presumably, in light of the "party of ‘no’" stance he has taken over the past year, Boehner was merely going for a laugh — or perhaps waving to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
But Obama’s invitation did not go unanswered.
The people who have a better approach — a better approach that Obama once acknowledged as such — have responded by declaring, correctly, that: "There is a better health plan, Mr. President"
Members of Physicians for a National Health Care Program, the national movement of 17,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance, are asking the president to consider the "Medicare-for-All" approach that really could expand access and quality of care, lower costs and break the stranglehold of big insurance and pharmaceutical companies on our health-care system.
Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician and congressional fellow for PNHP, went to the White House today to deliver an open letter to the president calling on him to meet with her and other Medicare-for-All advocates.
Here’s the letter:
January 28, 2010
President Barack Obama1600 Pennsylvania AvenueWashington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama,
I was overjoyed to hear you say in your State of the Union address last night:
"But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know."
My colleagues, fellow health advocates and I have been trying to meet with you for over a year now because we have an approach which will meet all of your goals and more.
I am a pediatrician who, like many of my primary care colleagues, left practice because it is nearly impossible to deliver high quality health care in this environment. I have been volunteering for Physicians for a National Health Program ever since. For over a year now, I have been working with the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care/ National Single Payer Alliance. This alliance represents over 20 million people nationwide from doctors to nurses to labor, faith and community groups who advocate on behalf of the majority of Americans, including doctors, who favor a national Medicare-for-All health system.