I'm lucky. Both my parents are entering their ninth decade of life and in relatively good health. They're alive, vibrant, enjoying their golden years surrounded by legions of kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.
Thanks to Medicare, my parents have survived heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, each requiring major, life saving surgery. They’ve had cataracts repaired, hold arthritis in check, and closely monitor and treat any signs of peripheral artery disease or pending stroke. That's why today they can enjoy a round of golf, shop for Christmas presents, hug their great-grandchildren, and do all the precious things more valuable to everyone in my family than any sum of money. To say that private, for profit health insurance could never offer our clan that option is a laughable understatement.
If Fox News, Newt Gingrich, or Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the lying wingnut clowns had been around when Medicare was proposed, my mother and father would be, at best, blind and crippled in a homeless shelter due to medical costs. Probably with at least one or two of their medically tapped out adult children living in a dumpster across the street. Or, more likely, they would live only in my family’s memory. And make no mistake; this Republican war on affordable heathcare is a war on my parents and yours. It's a fundamental plank in conservative ideology and includes destroying Medicare, usually disguised by widely quoted bytes like ‘ let's get the government out of healthcare.’
. . . What’s so remarkable about my parents' healthcare battles and victories isn’t that they're unique; the remarkable thing is they are the norm. Millions of senior citizens are alive, pain free, and productive today as a direct result of a core value in the progressive movement: it's time for affordable, quality healthcare to be a right, not a privilege, for everyone.
. . . If ever there was a time when pastors and priests should be reminding their congregation that "whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me," it is here. If ever there was cause worth fighting for, healthcare reform is it. Our time is now.
[posted on 8/16/09]