it’s not every day that your work gets validated by the Supreme Court

I didn’t start out as a supporter of the health care reform currently known as Obamacare. I was pushed into it by the right wing. 

Like many people, I thought (and still think) that single payer was the best way for our country to deliver health care for all. I want to live in a country that believes that everyone deserves health care, regardless of their ability to pay for it.

But the time I’ve spent working for health care reform over the last 15 years has convinced me that I don’t live in that country.

Instead, I’ve gotten used to the fact that I live in a country that believes that Billy Koehler should die because he couldn’t afford to pay to replace the battery in his pacemaker. That I live in a country that believes that it’s better to provide expensive care for people when they’re sick, than it is to keep them healthy in the first place. I didn’t always like it very much, that country. 

Over the course of the past 2 & 1/2 years, I’ve organized and participated in dozens of rallies, letters-to-the-editor campaigns, legislative visits, bus tours & press conferences to support President Obama’s health care reform program. I was at the Specter/Sibelius town hall meeting in Philly in August of ‘09, where the corporate-backed Tea Party first made a splash. I marched on Washington with 200 of our members, and thousands of other Pennsylvanians, in the hot sun. I stood on the Ben Franklin Bridge, hoping I wouldn’t get blown off by the wind, at one of those “Bridge to Health Care” events. I sang Christmas carols wearing a Santa hat, in front of a for-profit insurance company, hoping to shame them into doing the right thing.

I’ve gotten blowback from people who were on both sides of the health care reform issue. Conservatives, who heckled health care workers in Harrisburg because they were “outside agitators”—even though who, better than health care workers, can speak with authority about what the health care system needs? and where better to do it than the state capitol? And by my fellow progressives, who wanted to fight for the purest thing possible, and called me a sell-out for supporting a compromise. 

And that’s fair. I don’t deny anyone the right to their opinion, of me or of health care reform.

But for all the people who fought for this victory—staff who ran pizza through the streets of DC or stayed behind to reconnect lost marchers with their families; members who put their bodies on the line to make sure their patients had the best care we could win; nurses & nursing home workers who had never been activists before but overcame their fears to speak at press conferences; home care workers who gave to PAC in order to elect candidates that would fight for the 99% to have health care (while they didn’t have it themselves); activists who marched down the Eastern seaboard to Washington; for everyone who called their Congressperson, or circulated a petition, or knocked on doors to elect a president that knew what it was like to watch a loved one suffer a debilitating disease  while fighting her insurance company. Today? the opinion was on our side. 

The right-wing pushed me into Obamacare, because at that time, in that country, I didn’t think we could win anything better. I still don’t think we could have won anything better, then. And we’re celebrating today—because what else do you do when you win against the people who are trying to defeat you? But let’s remember that we won that battle on their terms. And let’s win the next one on ours. 

That’s going to take all of us, because Supreme Court decisions aren’t anondynes that take our problems away—the Brown decision didn’t take away segregation overnight—it just gave activists a legal hook on which to hang their strategies. We’ve gotta fight to make the coverage for 30+ million uninsured Americans just as good as it can possibly be. 

Tonight, I’ll be celebrating with a few hundred of my closest friends. And I’ll be thankful that my family members with chronic diseases will not be denied coverage because of them. I’ll be thankful that my friends who have young adult children on their health care will not see them kicked off before they turn 26. I’ll be happy that being a woman will no longer mean I have a pre-existing condition. I’ll be thankful that the family members who have had expensive illnesses will no longer have lifetime limits on their medical coverage. And I’ll be thankful for the love of my children, who tolerate the fact that I spend so much time away from them in the hopes of making this country more like the one I want, and less like the one that let Billy die. 

it’s not every day that your work gets validated by the Supreme Court

I didn’t start out as a supporter of the health care reform currently known as Obamacare. I was pushed into it by the right wing. 

Like many people, I thought (and still think) that single payer was the best way for our country to deliver health care for all. I want to live in a country that believes that everyone deserves health care, regardless of their ability to pay for it.

But the time I’ve spent working for health care reform over the last 15 years has convinced me that I don’t live in that country.

Instead, I’ve gotten used to the fact that I live in a country that believes that Billy Koehler should die because he couldn’t afford to pay to replace the battery in his pacemaker. That I live in a country that believes that it’s better to provide expensive care for people when they’re sick, than it is to keep them healthy in the first place. I didn’t always like it very much, that country. 

Over the course of the past 2 & 1/2 years, I’ve organized and participated in dozens of rallies, letters-to-the-editor campaigns, legislative visits, bus tours & press conferences to support President Obama’s health care reform program. I was at the Specter/Sibelius town hall meeting in Philly in August of ‘09, where the corporate-backed Tea Party first made a splash. I marched on Washington with 200 of our members, and thousands of other Pennsylvanians, in the hot sun. I stood on the Ben Franklin Bridge, hoping I wouldn’t get blown off by the wind, at one of those “Bridge to Health Care” events. I sang Christmas carols wearing a Santa hat, in front of a for-profit insurance company, hoping to shame them into doing the right thing.

I’ve gotten blowback from people who were on both sides of the health care reform issue. Conservatives, who heckled health care workers in Harrisburg because they were “outside agitators”—even though who, better than health care workers, can speak with authority about what the health care system needs? and where better to do it than the state capitol? And by my fellow progressives, who wanted to fight for the purest thing possible, and called me a sell-out for supporting a compromise. 

And that’s fair. I don’t deny anyone the right to their opinion, of me or of health care reform.

But for all the people who fought for this victory—staff who ran pizza through the streets of DC or stayed behind to reconnect lost marchers with their families; members who put their bodies on the line to make sure their patients had the best care we could win; nurses & nursing home workers who had never been activists before but overcame their fears to speak at press conferences; home care workers who gave to PAC in order to elect candidates that would fight for the 99% to have health care (while they didn’t have it themselves); activists who marched down the Eastern seaboard to Washington; for everyone who called their Congressperson, or circulated a petition, or knocked on doors to elect a president that knew what it was like to watch a loved one suffer a debilitating disease  while fighting her insurance company. Today? the opinion was on our side. 

The right-wing pushed me into Obamacare, because at that time, in that country, I didn’t think we could win anything better. I still don’t think we could have won anything better, then. And we’re celebrating today—because what else do you do when you win against the people who are trying to defeat you? But let’s remember that we won that battle on their terms. And let’s win the next one on ours. 

That’s going to take all of us, because Supreme Court decisions aren’t anondynes that take our problems away—the Brown decision didn’t take away segregation overnight—it just gave activists a legal hook on which to hang their strategies. We’ve gotta fight to make the coverage for 30+ million uninsured Americans just as good as it can possibly be. 

Tonight, I’ll be celebrating with a few hundred of my closest friends. And I’ll be thankful that my family members with chronic diseases will not be denied coverage because of them. I’ll be thankful that my friends who have young adult children on their health care will not see them kicked off before they turn 26. I’ll be happy that being a woman will no longer mean I have a pre-existing condition. I’ll be thankful that the family members who have had expensive illnesses will no longer have lifetime limits on their medical coverage. And I’ll be thankful for the love of my children, who tolerate the fact that I spend so much time away from them in the hopes of making this country more like the one I want, and less like the one that let Billy die. 

Scientists Create Wi-Fi That Can Transmit Seven Blu-ray Movies Per Second

Scientists Create Wi-Fi That Can Transmit Seven Blu-ray Movies Per Second

Had to leave the hearing…

…to head back east…but got to stay to hear the UPMC workers’ testimony. One woman spoke about having worked at UPMC for 31 years, and making $13.41/hour as a unit clerk. In response to the workers’ organizing efforts, UPMC offered her a $.34/hr raise, and then spent $.44 on a stamp to mail her anti-union lit. Needless to say, she noticed the disparity…. Even the union-buster clapped.