From his location in Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on Saturday urging them to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and cuts in funding for health research.
Menino explained his experiences after over a month in medical institutions in his appeal to Obama and Boehner.
“I just spent a month in one of our world-class healthcare institutions and am writing you from another,” Menino wrote. “So, yes, my perspective on the big budget debate happening in Washington is unique.”
Menino suggested the leaders alter the way in which they address the American people regarding the issues.
“We don’t seek ‘austerity,’” he wrote. “Austerity describes hospital food and institutional walls. Show us opportunity. Sell us on progress. Tell us the truth, especially on taxes … And tell those who can do more, to do more.”
Menino spent a month in Brigham and Women’s Hospital for multiple health complications, including a compression fracture in his back.
After doctors diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes on Nov. 27, he moved to Spaulding to begin his recovery.
He asked that Obama and Boehner behave in a way similar to those who have acted as Menino’s overseers and caretakers since October.
“Brian, my nurse, doesn’t come to my room in the morning to say, ‘Mayor, if you just sit here, unburdened by taxing exercises, free from our rehab rules and regulations, you will get stronger,’” he wrote. “He tells it like it is. You can, too.”
Menino also cited Boston’s supremacy as the top location for health institutions.
“Boston is home to the number-one medical school in the country and the number-one hospital in the country,” Menino said. “Researchers in Boston earn more NIH support than in any other city. Healthcare companies and institutions employ more people than any other sector.”
The fiscal cliff represents an end to several tax cuts and the implementation of many spending cuts to various government institutions, all of which are the result of the Budget Control Act of 2011.
If the fiscal cliff is not avoided, potential negative effects on the economy include a drastic decrease in GDP, and an increase in unemployment.
“The fiscal cliff is bad for our country,” Menino said in the final paragraph of the letter, “and so is any remedy that guts funding for discovery, for healthcare training and for healing.”