Healthcare Reform: We Cannot Afford to Wait!

By Shavon Arline, NAACP Health Programs

Director The healthcare reform debate has taken over our lives. It has aired on the news, in the newspaper and on the radio. It is an issue that can't be ignored. On October 8, 2009, in partnership with the Washington DC Branch of the NAACP, Thursday Network of the Urban League and the Omicron Lambda Alpha chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the NAACP hosted the National Health care Reform Town Hall Meeting in Washington DC. This live-streamed event was a pivotal moment for me as I sat and listened to the heart wrenching story from a young Howard University student, Zikia Jones-Martin , who shared with us her personal story in this healthcare debate. Zikia's mother was diagnosed with cancer and was no longer eligible for health care after losing her job. She eventually had a relapse after being in remission and was rushed to the emergency room where she waited for hours just to receive a private room. She lost her battle with cancer, right there in the hospital. Three days later, her family received the message that she was finally eligible for medical assistance. Where was the help? Where was the functional health care system that very well could have helped prevent this incident from occurring?