1. Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN

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I honestly believed it would happen, but I totally discounted the idea. I felt optimistic, but completely unsure. I knew it could come about, but I felt that something would block it at the last minute. Of course I'm talking about the Health Care Reform bill in the U.S. Congress in March 2010. I've written a few editorials about healthcare reform in the past, and it's no secret to MCN's readers that I am an advocate of reform. As a nurse for the past 40 years, and as a human being, I have always known that the system we have had in the United States is unfair. Some people could have the best healthcare available, and some people could not have any. All based on wealth. Sure, capitalism is a great system, but my belief is that all capitalists have to agree that the people who fall to the bottom of the money trail need to be kept in the game. It's simply inhuman to toss them aside and say their problems don't matter, or, in cruder terms, that we've got ours, now let them get their own. This type of thinking makes me furious for its base selfishness. Not everyone starts out in the same lane. Some people are born (by blind luck) to parents who have money and connections. Some people are born (by blind luck) to parents who have nothing. In a just and humane society, those who have advantages need to be cognizant of those who don't, and provide a way for them to move up. Not always in the form of handouts. Just a helping hand in times of stress, to show them kindness and a way up. Healthcare is one of those areas where those who have advantages, such as our Congress, can legislate a way up for those who struggle. For the past 100 years the presidents of the United States (well, at least most of them) have tried to institute healthcare as a right for all citizens. The Congress would never go for it. They had theirs, but they could never find a way to provide for others. The entire history of this lack of movement has been shameful, in my opinion.


It is the month of April 2010 as I write this editorial, and amazingly, shockingly, the new U.S. president has done what none of the others could. Healthcare reform has passed and become law in the United States. Maybe the stars were aligned, maybe it was the terrible recession with its loss of jobs (and therefore loss of healthcare for millions), maybe it was just that even the Congress could see that the system we were clinging to was impossible to sustain. I don't know. The rhetoric has been hateful from some, and hopeful from others. I do know what I believe. I believe that everyone deserves the right to obtain healthcare. I believe that if you lose your job in the United States, you should be able to purchase healthcare that won't bankrupt your family. I believe that lifetime limits on how much an insurance company will pay you (heaven forbid you have a preemie and use up most of your lifetime limit in that one instance) are unconscionable. I believe that having a preexisting condition should not preclude you from ever obtaining health insurance. I believe that no insurance company should be able to discontinue your benefits because you got sick. These beliefs seem quite simple to me. Simple, and fair. Yet they are revolutionary, it seems. People are rioting in some streets and throwing bricks in legislators' windows because this bill has passed. I'm mystified.


But, the operative words are "it has passed." I'm shocked, thrilled, surprised, excited, and proud of all those Congress members who made this happen. Let the small-minded bigots speak their minds, as is their right. The bill has passed. Historically. Could it Be? Yes it Could. Something's Coming. Something Good.