By RoseAnn DeMoro
The Hill, Jan. 9, 2017
“Praying for health shouldn’t be the foundation of a modern healthcare system. But that’s where millions of uninsured Americans still find themselves,” wrote The Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus Jan. 6, quoting the fears of Los Angeles resident Madelyn Gilbreath about the expected vote by Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“I just need to make it one more year and then I’m eligible for Medicare (like her husband who is on Medicare),” Gilbreath told Lazarus. “For my son, I’m just praying he stays healthy.”
That’s a story nurses have heard before, including when a 64-year-old retired teacher asked an operating room nurse who was prepping him for heart surgery in San Diego, “can’t you wait one week until I turn to 65 and qualify for Medicare?”
Why should anyone have to wait to qualify for Medicare, one of the most popular reforms in U.S. history? Expanding Medicare to cover everyone remains a rarely discussed alternative to the reopening of a national healthcare debate.
Far fetched? Apparently not to the incoming President Donald Trump. “As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here,” said Trump in a Republican debate in August, 2015. That age should be the present time.
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, has emerged as one of the nation’s preeminent advocates for genuine healthcare reform and working people. DeMoro also serves as national vice president and executive board member of the AFL-CIO.