Wednesday, September 09, 2009
snail mail to president obama
Dear Mr. President,
I have never felt compelled to write to someone in your office before, but after hearing you speak to Congress on health care this evening, I simply had to put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard, anyway).
I am 32 years old, in overall good health. My brother, J, however, is very ill. Just 30 years old, he suffers from a rare and serious form of multiple sclerosis. Every day is a struggle; there are times when he literally cannot move his limbs, and when the most basic of tasks are impossible. For the last four years, J has endured a cocktail of drugs, from daily injections to monthly infusions of steroids and other chemicals that have helped with the MS but ravaged his body in other ways.
For the moment, my brother enjoys a good job that accommodates his physical ailments and provides private health insurance. But even so, his medical bills are extremely high. He has been denied various treatments despite his desperate state, and he is often forced to go to the emergency room, where out-of-pocket costs are exorbitant. But perhaps scariest of all, Mr. President, is that my brother lives in Massachusetts, the one state in the Union that assures health insurance for all. What of all the other Americans, suffering day in and day out as he does, who can’t get any coverage at all based on their condition, which will never go away and will therefore be “pre-existing” for the rest of their lives?
To be sure, I didn’t write to burden you with another sob story. What I am writing with is my message that you must pass this health care bill. This may be the fight of our time, but it is one that simply cannot fail. I urge you to continue to reach out to our young people, to educate them about how government works for them. One of the biggest problems I see with American politics today is that the right aims to keep its followers down. They want to keep information out of the hands of those who most need it. You and I both know that it’s the poor and uneducated who have most at stake with this bill—and who least understand it. It’s an unfortunate state of affairs when fear is the driving factor holding up as important a bill as this one. And so I urge you to keep fighting the good fight.
Thank you for all the hope you inspire in so many of us.