A Congressional Christmas gift

To my shock, I shed a few tears this mornng on reading the totally expected news that the U.S. Senate had passed the health-care reform bill.

Even before I got sick, I was anxious for reform. In my mind, the status quo is unsustainable on a cost front, if nothing else, and I hear far too many stories of people who fall between the cracks in the present system. A friend of Kevin’s who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the same month that his father lost his job and his insurance. An uninsured, twenty-something son of an acquaintance who got bitten by a rattlesnake and got socked with a $30,000 bill for the anti-venom treatment. The uninsured young woman who had to declare bankruptcy after an emergency apendectomy. A Facebook friend with a serious heart condition who can’t get affordable insurance.

Our family has terrific insurance right now — thank you, Kalamazoo Gazette — but the kids won’t be on that policy forever, and with the way the newspaper biz is right now, it’s hard to predict that this job and its insurance coverage will be around for another 14 years until I qualify for Medicare. And now with a cancer diagnosis on my record, what would I do if I had to get insurance on my own?

This health-care bill is far from perfect, and the major provisions don’t kick in until 2014. But in my mind, it’s a critical move in the right direction.


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