NLN: Health Care Bill Passes House

As announced today by Kathleen A. Ream, director of Government Affairs of the National League of Nursing:

After months of debate and negotiations, the House of Representatives approved the most ambitious effort ever to change the country’s health care system, with 219 Democrats and one Republican voting for the bill and 39 Democrats voting against the bill. Action will now turn to the Senate Democrats who have yet to bring their bill to the floor for debate.

Permit me a personal note. As a boy of the tender age of 7 in early fall of 1960, I sat with my parents in the front row center of the gallery of the US Senate the night that Medicare first came up for a vote. Seated directly across from us on the floor of the Senate was Richard M. Nixon, vice president of the United States and in that capacity president of the Senate. Seated directly below us was the junior senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. Both men were candidates for the presidency.

That night, the bill that would have created Medicare went down in defeat by only a few votes. My mother’s parents, who were in declining health at the time, would be dead (my grandmother) or dying (my grandfather) by the time Medicare legislation was finally passed in 1965, their income exhausted by healthcare expenses.

It has been estimated that nearly 50,000 Americans die annually as a direct or indirect result of a lack of health insurance. If we can mobilize public support (or at least public acquiescence) for a variety of costly and unproductive endeavors, why not to save lives and improve quality of life?


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