“Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world.”
—WOODROW W. WILSON (1856-1924), 28TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Although it is early in the election year, the nation has already launched into its traditional mercurial race to choose the 44th President of the United States. This will be a particularly challenging contest for Presidential hopefuls, as voters seek to choose a leader who is capable of addressing numerous situations that are rapidly evolving into critical mode. Aside from the ongoing “war on terror,” a fractured economy, environmental questions, and rising unemployment, health care is in shambles.
As voters, we must be proactive and choose a 44th President who—once the inaugural ceremonies are over—will immediately turn their attention to the ailing health care front. We need a leader who will address the shameful dilemma of more than 47 million uninsured Americans,1 as well as the struggle of millions of citizens experiencing enormous personal financial burdens (including bankruptcy) who often must choose essentials such as food and clothing over insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-payments that are increasing faster than their paychecks. The new leader will face a conundrum when deciding just how to address the health care issue, as its causes are numerous—from skyrocketing pharmaceutical costs to arbitrary therapy caps affecting occupational and physical therapy to insurance providers reaping massive profits by cutting claim payments, the list goes on.
We, as a people, need a progressive-thinking leader with the insight to cultivate a healthy bipartisan environment on Capitol Hill, enabling both parties to come to the table amenably and create a workable health care system. The perfect scenario would not only provide access to affordable medical essentials for those in need, but emphasize the importance of fitness, wellness, and preventive programs. Occupational and physical therapists would definitely benefit from such a program in consultant, advocate, and practitioner mode. Such is the ideal.
It will be several months before the final ballots are cast and the votes are counted. Let’s hope at the end of this contest, we have an administration that will assume its mantle of leadership with grace and dignity, and respect the health and general well-being of all Americans.
—Rogena Schuyler Silverman
- AARP. www.aarpmagazine.org/health/uninsured_in_america.html. Accessed January 6, 2008.