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I Sit and Look Out: Americans must get universal health care

Some TimesLedger readers may have noticed that this column has not appeared for some time in fact, since January.

I knew heart surgery had to be done in January, but before that, many bad symptoms led my doctors to rush me on Christmas Eve morning to St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, L.I. There were many complications and the surgery was not accomplished until Jan. 16. After a few more days in the hospital, I was taken to a rehab center in Port Washington, L.I., where Elaine and I have lived since last May.

Both institutions did fine jobs, but the greatest thanks go to St. Francis, a remarkable, caring place which deserves the accolades it receives. I could not have chosen a better place to be treated. The doctors and staff saved my life.

I am currently recuperating by undergoing home care with the prospect of more outpatient rehab. I feel better every day.

But this is by way of this column's real purpose.

I am fortunate to have Medicare and generally good secondary coverage. And believe me: I needed it. Health care, as we all know, does not come cheap; excellent health care, like what I received, is not available to everyone.

But why not?

We are the richest nation in the world, despite squandering our wealth and young people on a stupid war. Unlike the rest of the industrial nations, we lack a system of health care for everyone.

That means 40 million Americans are without any or proper health protection. The know-nothing in the White House thinks this is all solved by sending people to emergency rooms when they are ill.

Call universal health care what you will, be it socialism, anti-business or baloney. I do not care.

But I do know I am lucky to be among those with proper health care. What makes me different from many other Americans? Why should there be a difference?

If we can get into a war for no reason remember what we were told? and continue spending our fortune on that folly, why can't we help all those in need like many other democracies do? It is only our stupidity and lack of will holding us back. It is about time we dealt with human problems and not the horrors of war.

I got out of rehab on Valentine's Day, but before that I started thinking about my "return" column. If I did not express these opinions, I would be false to the ideal of the United States, which has guided me all my life.

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