Health Reform: Magnificent Xmas Present But Needs Assembly

Abraham Verghese in The Atlantic:

Abraham_verghese So its done. The health care legislation has passed and that makes this a special Xmas. Despite its flaws, it is a milestone for a nation that could be so generous with its aid abroad, yet stymied in caring for its own. I clearly could not have been a politician–I would not have the patience of the president to tirelessly campaign for this and to see it through; nor would I have the tenacity of the opponents to the legislation who opposed it to the end.

This morning I will drive in for my rounds at the hospital (my team is on call, bless their hearts,and will stay all day and night, while I get to come home well before nightfall) and I am already trying to digest what this Xmas present means for my patients and for my house staff. In the last few days we pulled out all stops to get patients home. The ones who can't go home are too ill, and going home may not be an option; instead it might be a specialized nursing facility or rehabilitation place. One or two of these patients have been very much on my mind, long after I leave the hospital, their suffering both palpable and difficult to forget, and making me conscious of the blessings of just walking outside, stepping into a car and going somewhere.

More here.