BIG NUMBERS, like 45 million uninsured Americans, are hard to grasp. But that number came home to me at a recent conference. The keynote speaker was former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Her topic was our health care system, and her message was personal and anguished.My heart bleeds for Justice O'Connor. Maybe if she had not been one of the five that installed President Bush I could feel some sympathy but she helped put this criminal administration in place so I can only laugh at her family's predicament.
The gist was that even she lives in constant fear of major uninsured health bills. Not her own -- those of her son. He can't afford insurance because his son -- her grandchild -- has a preexisting condition.
As I listened, a light dawned: O'Connor and the rest of us with health coverage are also uninsured. We too face terrible, albeit more remote, health care risks -- the risk that our employer will drop our plan, that Medicare will go bust, that our plan won't cover our needs, that premiums will eat us alive, that our doctor will stop taking our insurance, that long-term care will wipe us out, and that our uninsured friends and family members will need major financial help.
Her actions have given us the worst administration in our history and led to six years of inaction on health care and rising numbers of uninsured. I hope she wakes up nightly knowing what her actions have wrought on this nation and even onto her own family. I bet if this issue did not directly affect her family you would never hear her speak about it. Now she understands what 47 million Americans experience on a daily basis. Maybe what we need to do is to cancel the health care plan of all legislators and judges and let them spend a day in the shoes of all the uninsured.