At a recent national conference of critical care physicians, I spoke with a physician who was thrilled that Minnesota had voted Republican for the first time in many years. This physician’s two main concerns were the size of her paycheck and the fact that there were people “sitting around on their couches” getting free health insurance on her dime.

It opened my eyes that a physician in a practice very similar to mine can see things very differently.

I would rather live in a country that helps take care of its poor, its sick children, than to have those taxes back as take-home pay. Some things are more valuable than money, and a compassionate, just society is one of those things.

It’s not about political slogans–like “Repeal and Replace”. It’s about building upon what we have and improving our healthcare system, so that a broken bone doesn’t lead to crippling debt, and a diagnosis of leukemia in a child doesn’t devastate a family financially as well as emotionally.

There are things that we can improve about the Affordable Care Act. But giving those with money to spare the *privilege* of making healthcare more affordable for those around them is a feature of the ACA, not a bug.

Jonathan Hastie
Columbia University Medical Center

One thought on “On returning from the SCCM Annual Congress

  1. One of my friends said, while waiting in line at the DMV, that there should be two separate waiting rooms: one for people with jobs who had places to be, and another for people who would be sitting around at home anyway.


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