Testimony to the Adequate Health Care Task Force

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I had the opportunity to address Illinois’ Ade –
quate Health Care Task Force on February
15, 2006, when they visited the 15th Congres –
sional District. My remarks were received
with boisterous applause. Here’s the text of
my testimony:
I appreciate the opportunity to address the
Adequate Health Care Task Force today.
My name is David Gill, and I’m an Emergency Department
physician from Clinton, Illinois. I’m also past president
of the Board of Directors of Dr. John Warner Hospital in Clinton,
and thus I’ve witnessed the difficulties inherent in health
care financing from more than one perspective.
As a 15-year member of Physicians for a National Health
Program, I’ve long been convinced that America desperately
needs a Single-Payer National Healthcare Plan, for the wellbeing
of both our citizens and our large and small businesses.
I’m currently running, for the second time, for Illinois’ 15th
District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. But until I
can convince a majority of 15th District voters to send me to
Washington, where I intend to be a leader in bringing adequate
health care to all Americans, I feel that Illinois’ Health
Care Justice Act is an appropriate and necessary step in the
right direction.
For more than twenty years, I’ve borne witness to the lunacy
and injustice of health care financing here in Illinois. I’ve
watched as Illinois’ citizens – young, old, rich, poor, black,
white – have suffered and died, because of the failure of our
elected leaders to implement a health care plan which provides
access to needed care. These same citizens would be alive and
well today had they lived in Japan, Germany, Canada, Switzerland,
or any other industrialized country in the world.
Our Illinois businesses, large and small, now compete in a
global economy; but we force them to compete on a playing
field which is far from level, as companies from all those
other countries have the benefit of universal health care plans.
For this reason, American companies will eagerly flock to the
first states that implement adequate health care for all.
Within the past month, I watched a young man less than 40
years old die of a heart attack, leaving behind a wife and two
young children. He worked as a full-time househusband and
f a t h e r, while his wife worked full-time outside their household.
He experienced mild, intermittent chest pain for one week, but,
because he was unable to afford health insurance, he ignored
his wife’s pleas to have his chest pain evaluated. And as so
often happens, over and over and over again, he arrived at my
E m e rgency Department too late. His childrenwill now grow up
without their father, leaving them with broken hearts and
putting them at increased risk for a host of negative social consequences.
As a society, we fail such children each day that we
stand by and fail to implement universal health care.

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