I’m driving around making nursing visits, listening to the health care news on the radio. It hurts to have my hopes raised again. This whole debate has been painful and deeply disillusioning. Not only with my politicians, but with my fellow Rhode Islanders who told me face to face that an America where some people just have to die needlessly for lack of health care is acceptable to them.

I have to tune most of it out right now. I’m trying to do my job and tolerate the time I have to waste on getting over obstacles created by a fragmented and irrational system. I want to see a system that delivers care to people who need it, at a cost that is fair and proportionate to their ability to pay.

I have friends who are in financial crisis trying to afford their insurance premiums. I have friends who go without. I see waste and profiteering on the other end. I see a lot of people who are sick and unhappy. I see health care workers burnt out and stressed out because our system doesn’t reward promoting health. Not yet. But I have to hope. We are a great country and we are not done with this reform yet.

I was driving home from work this week and saw a woman fallen on the sidewalk. I pulled over at the next street, and by the time I got to her three other people had stopped to help. There was a conservatively dressed older couple and a young man with a Spanish accent and face piercings. All offering to call 911. She turned out to be okay. I think that is the real American spirit. We are ready to help. We are better than the loudest voices saying, ‘no we can’t’.


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