- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The article “Americans set to give health reform a chance” (Web, Politics, June 1) is an indication that Americans now have a different perspective on the health care reform act and have softened their opposition. There is a willingness on the part of these Americans to closely examine the act and propose changes that could result in amendments.

Health care reform gives us an opportunity to expand medical coverage and broaden access for our fellow Americans who are currently uninsured. A study by researchers from Harvard Medical School found that nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year - one every 12 minutes - because of lack of health care. In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that approximately 45.7 million people were suffering because of lack of health insurance. These statistics illustrate the dire need for Americans to have access to health coverage.

I am a registered nurse and have been in practice for more than 11 years. During my experience, I have cared for a number of uninsured patients who came to the hospital seeking treatment when their symptoms and/or medical condition developed into an emergency situation. In most cases, the exacerbation of their conditions could have been avoided if they had been under the care of a health care provider who could monitor, educate and help them maintain a healthy medical regimen.

As our population ages, there will be an increased need for home health services. Without health care coverage, who will be able to pay for these services, and what will happen to the older population? As a health care provider, I find this is an extremely discomforting thought.

After reading this article, I am hopeful that more Americans will be involved and make contributions to improving our health care system. It is up to us as citizens of this country to take the initiative to gain a better understanding of health care reform, what it means and how it will impact us, our families and our friends.

ANN E. WILLIAMS

Coconut Creek, Fla.