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Healthcare Should Get Into Some #GoodTrouble

By KIM BELLARD

As hopefully most of you know, Rep. John Lewis, civil right icon and longtime member of Congress, died this past Friday.  Rep. Lewis was often described the “conscience of Congress”  – perhaps a low bar in today’s Congress but important nonetheless — for his unwavering commitment to social justice.  I have always been struck in particular by one of his quotes:

Rep. Lewis must have been heartened by the fact that, in 2020, plenty of people are, indeed, making noise and getting into good trouble, necessary trouble over issues that he cared deeply about, like Black Lives Matter and voting rights.  There are others who are better able to write about those people and that trouble.  So I’d like to talk about his call to action with respect to healthcare.

If you are working today in healthcare — especially in the United States — or, for that matter, someone getting healthcare or having a loved one get it, then you should be making some noise and getting into good trouble, because our healthcare system most definitely makes it necessary. 

It should come as no surprise that we’re not very happy with our healthcare system, rating it lower than do citizens in most other developed countries.  And for good reason: it’s the world’s most expensive while delivering sub-par health results and leaving tens of millions without financial protection.  Even our physicians don’t like it.  Even our latest, best effort for improving the sorry state of our healthcare system — the Affordable Care Act  – is under risk of repeal due to a lawsuit brought by 18 states and backed by the Trump Administration.  

Every day, too many of us suffer in the healthcare system, ranging from waits to indignities to critical mistakes, and some face financial ruin due to the care — whether good or bad.  Most of us suffer in silence, or only complain to our friends and family.  We don’t see a lot of mass protests about the pitiful state of our healthcare system, and I have to wonder why.  

We have to stop being so passive.

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