Dear Sen. Tom Coburn,
You deserve congratulations and recognition for your positive contributions to the recently enacted health reform bill. Although the bill may be imperfect, it does address many of the problems implicit in our nation’s health care system.
On Jan. 29, 2010, you wrote a letter to the president endorsing the creation of “state market places for health insurance.” The creation of health insurance exchanges was a key component of the health care bill, and the exchanges have great potential to make health insurance more affordable and accessible for many Americans.
In the same letter, you encouraged the president to give “individuals a tax credit to buy health insurance.” This idea was incorporated into the health care bill to make health insurance more affordable. The bill is one step toward fixing our broken health care system, and I am pleased to know you were in favor of these changes (voting record notwithstanding).
As a medical doctor, you clearly have a strong interest in improving our health care system. So your brazen efforts to block not only the health care bill, but indeed all business in the Senate, are confusing at best and counterproductive at worst. Instead of confronting real issues like medical malpractice reform, you chose to waste time and resources on meaningless legislation designed to incite ridicule and outrage. I urge you to take leadership in restoring a spirit of bipartisan cooperation.
Mutual respect, pragmatism, rational debate, and compromise are the cornerstones upon which a democracy is built. For too long, our brutally divided Legislature has failed to make real changes on the important issues of our day. A historical health care bill has finally been passed. Now you have a crucial choice to make. You can prolong a contentious feud, or you can use your influence to bring peace and progress to our nation. I pray you choose the latter.