All of us know that health care is about more than pushing pills and performing surgery. The best health care is about providers who can listen. It is about offering help and hope to the ill and the depressed. It is about compassion for those whose diseases are chronic, and it is about empathy and comfort for those whose diseases can no longer be treated successfully.
In this country we too often take the "care" out of health care. We don't cover everyone. We price critical medications out of reach of many who may most need them. But with the Affordable Care Act, we attempted to make our health care system more responsive to our real health care needs.
Now we face an effort by 13 Republican senators, all male, to craft a new health care bill that shows no compassion or empathy. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, one of the "gang of 13," demonstrated his empathy by allowing the Denver police to drag disabled protestors off to jail rather than meeting with the protestors so that he could hear their concerns. Paul Ryan is salivating over an opportunity to reduce the size of the Medicaid program that now covers one American in five, leaving millions with unaffordable options for health care. This "gang of 13" have in particular targeted women, as this plan would both cut funding to Planned Parenthood and make the cost of pregnancy higher. There is only one word to sum up the Senate version of Trumpcare, and that word is not "compassion.
If the Affordable Care Act is to be replaced, let's be kinder to all Americans and replace it with single-payer Medicare for All.
Richard Gingery, M.D., Ridgway, Colo.