CORRECTION: A previous version of this article mischaracterized the letter. It is a copy of a letter written by the president.
For as little as $6, you could own a copy of Barack Obama's handwritten letter to someone named Lynne defending why his health care law was not a "giveaway to insurance companies" and why he has to listen to what Sen. Joe Lieberman thinks.
The letter, up for auction at ShopGoodwill.com, provides a little window into the history of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The letter is undated, but it refers to Lynne's complaints about Lieberman, ID-Conn., in the health care debate ("The reason that Joe Lieberman and other individual senators have so much leverage is because of the filibuster rule in the Senate"). That would seem to date the letter to December 2009, when Lieberman said he was considering voting against health care reform if it allowed people ages 55 to 65 to purchase Medicare. (The option was taken out before the bill arrived on Obama's desk.) "This is a Senate rule that has been greatly abused by the Republicans this session, but it is not one that a President can change," Obama wrote.
Every night, Obama reads 10 letters from the approximately 20,000 he receives daily, according to a report from March 2010 by The Washington Post's Eli Saslow, and he sometimes responds. This appears to be one of those responses. Obama once said that about half the letters "call me an idiot." This one's anger seems more focused on the Senate. In his loopy lefty handwriting, Obama explains that he thinks the filibuster is frustrating, too, but presidents can't do anything about it. "I understand your frustrations — I share them — when it comes to the process," he wrote, "but this bill will be worth the fight!"
We don't know why Lynne gave away the letter. The obvious joke is that she's totally over Obama. But items left over from estate sales and gifts from relatives often end up donated to Goodwill, too. Here's the full text of Obama's letter:
I received your note and wanted to respond. The reason that Joe Lieberman and other individual senators have so much leverage is because of the filibuster rule in the Senate, which requires 60 votes to move forward with a bill. This is a Senate rule that has been greatly abused by the Republicans this session, but it is not one that a President can change. So I can disagree with any single Senator's position and use the bully pulpit all I want — but if they won't vote for a bill with certain provisions, that is their perogative … and how our democracy works.
As for the bill itself, it is absolutely not true that this is a giveaway to the insurance companies. In fact, in addition to providing 30 million people coverage, it has the toughest insurance reforms in history, which is why the insurance companies are still spending millions of dollars opposing it. I understand your frustrations — I share them — when it comes to the process, but this bill will be worth the fight! Barack Obama
Goodwill notes there are "some scuffs and soiling to frame, some smudges on glass."