THE BLOG
11/10/2010 12:26 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gailcare, Not Obamacare!

It's not "Obamacare"; the President (and every Member of Congress) already has health care -- quality, affordable, publicly-provided health care. It would make more sense to name it after someone who might not have health care coverage if it was not for the hard-fought incremental reform that was eventually enacted. It should be named for someone like Gail O'Brien.

To counter the Republican smear campaign, progressives should call the new health care reform "Gailcare" since were it not for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Gail O'Brien of New Hampshire would have found that her pre-existing condition would have caused her to lose her home, and maybe even her life. Cancer doesn't really pay attention to whether you have health care; it strikes randomly: young and old, rich and poor, your family and mine. But having health care makes an enormous difference on your chances of survival, not to mention whether it bankrupts you or not.

Gail probably doesn't want it called "Gailcare" either. She didn't seek to be ill or famous. She didn't know that when she became an activist with Working Families Win that she would get a surprise call from the White House, be mentioned by the President on the Daily Show, or be the subject of a YouTube video. But she did recognize that our country needed a change - especially in health care - and she was willing to speak out and work for change in her community.

We all know the problems with the health care system, from the merely frustrating (bureaucratic battles with hard-hearted insurers) to the tragic (one of the 40,000 yearly unnecessary deaths ascribed to lack of insurance). And all of us have concerns about the new law, either because it will do too much or too little. But pretending that it can just be "repealed" is so naive that it defies description.

Especially when we know that it has saved lives, like Gail's.

Let's not forget that the new health care law also will expand prescription drug coverage and home-based, long-term care for seniors, will allow young people to stay on their parents' coverage into their mid-20s, and will bring about a raft of other improvements to a cruel and broken system.

"Gailcare" is worth defending -- no matter what you call it.