Maybe we’re nearing a tipping point in support for a genuine form of universal health care after all. What else to make of Colin Powell, former general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former Secretary of State, longtime Republican, and (perhaps importantly) a prostate cancer survivor, recently speaking out in favor of universal coverage?
Headlining a Seattle prostate cancer fundraiser, Gen. Powell spoke plainly and from the heart (quotations from an article by Valerie Bauman in the Puget Sound Business Journal):
“We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care… (Let’s show) the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all of our citizens.”
“I am not an expert in health care, or Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or however you choose to describe it, but I do know this: I have benefited from that kind of universal health care in my 55 years of public life. And I don’t see why we can’t do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing, what all these other places are doing.”
Powell shared a story about his wife, Alma, and Anne, a woman who does yard work for the Powells. When Alma Powell had a scare with aneurysms and a blocked artery, she received rapid and effective treatment covered by health insurance. Anne, by contrast, had no coverage and couldn’t afford the MRIs doctors needed to perform surgery for a growth on her brain. Out of compassion, Powell gave Anne the money she needed.
“After these two events, of Alma and Anne, I’ve been thinking, why is it like this?” Powell said. “Every country I’ve visited, every developed country, they have universal health care. They don’t understand why the United States of America, which uses more health care than just about anybody else, still (has) 40 million people not properly insured.”
“I think universal health care is one of the things we should really be focused on, and I hope that will happen. Whether it’s Obamacare, or son of Obamacare, I don’t care. As long as we get it done.”
Get it done. Now that sounds like a real leader talking.