Please, Mr. President, Don’t Give Up On Healthcare

The recent failure to pass even the most conservative and unoffensive to the powers-that-be of healthcare reform bills in time for your State-Of-The-Union address just because the Republican victory in Massachusetts is devastating to millions of suffering families. Not that senator-elect Scott Brown’s victory itself could do that. Not that the timing was ruined. It’s that you allowed it to defeat you. It’s devastating because apparently it was your last tepid stand for healthcare reform. It’s devastating because you just told all of America you’re moving on. You never did make a strong stand for reform – you sort of threw it out there and argued against some parts of the bill as going too far or being unnecessary.
In the final closed door meeting with lawmakers hammering out a compromise bill, what did you say? Did you remind the Senators of the emergency medical clinics in Appalachia and LA that were originally intended for use in the Third World? Did you share any letters to you about incredible hardship caused by medical insurance practices? Did you emphasize what the most important things to have in the bill were and all what they could do for Americans? And of you personally, I want to know: Do you ever weep when you hear of the tragedies caused by health insurance practices?
We need a jobs bill. I don’t disagree. I’d like to see these new jobs change America’s landscape, put us back on path towards renewal and future economic success. Jobs and high speed rail are exciting items for the future of America, as is clean energy. A new power grid is on the agenda, and improved communications, bringing affordable broadband to rural America. Hybrid automobiles, more mass transit. Getting off foreign oil once and for all. Cutting pollution. There’s even more hopeful legislation with a better chance to pass than health care, like the ending of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Two Clinton hallmarks, to his shame, that you may be able to undo with the stroke of a pen. The moral cry for equality and dignity for all still echos across this great land.
But my heart is still with all the folks who face financial ruin if they get sick, their child gets sick, they get dropped by their healthcare provider, lose their job, their job drops healthcare, for people who can’t afford high premiums for plans that actually cover illness without hardcore exemptions, or are unable to enroll for health insurance at all. It’s with the chronically ill being dumped on the curb by hospitals at the homeless shelter. It’s with the mental patient whose treatments never arrived on time. This was our calling on election day. Please don’t give up on healthcare.

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