Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One Step Closer

Tonight, the United States moved one step closer. One step closer to the rest of the free world.

It should come as a huge shock to realize that the United States of America stands alone as the only industrialized nation on the planet that doesn't consider health care to be a basic human right. The good ole US is the only first world country in the world in which a person can go bankrupt and lose everything he or she owns simply because he, she or a family member got sick.

The United States of America, where compassion seems to be a very rare commodity.

At least, that's what the rest of the world must think of us.

But I know that I, as a liberal, progressive, ACLU card-carrying democratic-socialist wannabe, I am compassionate. I don't think anyone should have to choose between putting food on the table or visiting the doctor when something is wrong. Health care, to me, falls under the heading of those inalienable rights granted us in the Declaration of Independence of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nowhere does it say "if you can afford the premiums, co-pays and deductible!"

Today, Harry Reid introduced the new Senate Health Care bill, H.R. 3590 "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." This is the product of the two Senate committee bills merged into one that will be debated, amended and, hopefully, voted on.

Once that passes, this bill will have to be merged with the House bill. And then both the Senate and the House will have to pass it in order to take us yet another step closer to giving Americans the peace of mind that so many of our fellow world citizens already enjoy. The dignity of life.

It's more than a little ironic that the Republican members of Congress who, unanimously, claim to be "pro-life" are so against the one thing that can help our people live. Health care for all.

Tonight on my Air America radio show, I'll bring you the latest updates on the Senate bill, from Ryan Grim at Huffington Post and Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo.

And I'm thrilled to speak tonight with Rich Stockwell, a senior producer at MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He's the man who came up with the wonderful idea to show the Democratic Senators who just might stand in the way of health care reform just what's at stake by mounting a series of free clinics, in conjunction with the National Association of Free Clinics. The first one was held last weekend in New Orleans.

Rich wrote about the experience in "Health reform's human stories," a piece that Keith felt compelled to read on the air in its entirety.

Listen live from 11pm-am ET by clicking here, join us in the chat there too, and call in at 866-303-2270 with your thoughts!