Dear Mr. President,
I am writing you today because I read something that made me fear for the soul of our country. I'm writing because I felt that if I didn't, my silence would be one more nail in the coffin of this amazing country of ours.
You inherited a country situated squarely in the crosshairs of disaster from so many sources: the economy, war, health care. You were elected for your ability to speak sensibly. So many of us were thrilled just to hear a president speak in full sentences again, but the fact that you seemed to have common sense, and better yet, common DECENCY made many, myself included, feel hope stirring in our dormant souls. You made us believe that we could once again be great, that we would be heard. You made us feel that even dissenters would be listened to.
Mr. President, there are those who would put fear into our hearts about healthcare reform. But when I read this on the front page of the New York Times today, my blood went cold. If this isn't call for reform, then we have lost all hope. Here is a portion of the article, because I know you're a very busy man:
The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person. Then they plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die.
The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.
Either way, Wall Street would profit by pocketing sizable fees for creating the bonds, reselling them and subsequently trading them. But some who have studied life settlements warn that insurers might have to raise premiums in the short term if they end up having to pay out more death claims than they had anticipated.
If this doesn't call for health care reform, or doesn't at least call into question both the banking and insurance industries, then what? This ghoulish idea reminds me of the old B movie "Soylent Green". Billions would be made from the deaths of our fellow citizens. To simplify even further: Death = Profit.
We didn't elect you for politics as usual. We elected you because we believed that you would do the right thing, not just the thing that would get you elected next time. Please, Mr. President. Shake us up, bitch slap us out of our zombie-like state and LEAD us.