Menino to Obama, Boehner on the fiscal cliff: ‘Tell us the truth,’ like my nurse does

Mayor Menino posted a letter to President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on his website yesterday offering his perspective on the fiscal cliff, burnished by the weeks spent in Brigham and Women’s Hospital and now at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

In the letter, dated Dec. 1, Menino writes:

Politicians are not used to taking orders. But here, doctors tell me what to do. (Actually, it’s the amazing nurses.) In Washington, “winning the 24-hour news cycle” is victory. You know what victory is for patients down the hall from me? Walking.

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I hope you’ll understand that if my tone is unusually blunt (even for me), it is because one sees things differently here. I have to ask as you work to avoid the “fiscal cliff”: Talk differently to the American people.

We don’t seek “austerity”. Austerity describes hospital food and institutional walls. Show us opportunity. Sell us on progress.

Tell us the truth, especially on taxes. 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 tells it like it is. You can, too.

Menino tells the leaders that he has benefited from Boston’s world-class health care.

“Other people come here to get well,” he wrote. “It would make a good national motto.”

Menino urges them not to cut funding for research. Massachusetts stands to lose as much as $3.1 billion in military and civilian grants over five years if the sequestration occurs. About half of that goes to medical research, Tracy Jan reported last month.

“The fiscal cliff is bad for our country, and so is any remedy that guts funding for discovery, for health care training, and for healing,” Menino writes.