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Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

October 28th, 2013 2:34 PM

Keeping Our Health Care Heroes In Mind and Heart

Donna Smith, SiCKO, Quentin Young, PNHP, Medicare for all, single payer, everybody in and nobody out,

As we all listen and watch the political posturing around the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, which has dragged on for years now but elevated in intensity as the state insurance exchanges went live, perhaps we can pause to pay attention to some of the heroes for health care justice in the U.S.  These quiet heroes keep pushing forward to see that health care as a human right becomes a reality in our nation even as the politicos fight for their own power and political agendas rather than a sane and humane healthc are system.  One of  people who has fought for health care justice for many years is Dr. Quentin Young of Chicago. 

Even as he turns 90, Dr. Young remains an icon of the single-payer movement, and he has steadfastly advocated for an improved and expanded Medicare for all for life program for many years.  At one time, Dr. Young's medical practice in the Hyde Park area of Chicago was serving the medical needs of a future president -- Barrack Obama.  But that's not what makes his decades long passion for social justice so remarkable to me.  You may wish to watch Dr. Young on Democracy Now back in 2009:  http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/11/dr_quentin_young_obama_confidante_and.  Shortly after that, Dr. Young went with me to a meeting of  "super-stakeholders" in the reform process.  Actually both of us knew we weren't actually considered very "super" by any of those involved at the time, but we went anyway.  Dr. Young knew as the national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) that the organization for which I worked at the time, National Nurses United, was also critical to the fight, and he wasn't afraid to embrace all who joined the struggle.

When I first met Quentin Young, he was one of the few doctors not to remind me of his status as an M.D.  That may not sound remarkable, but for some of us who have worked on single-payer reform and who have also faced serious medical issues for years, we've learned that paying appropriate deference to the titles of many medical doctors is a requirement to even be heard at all.  That was never the case with Quentin Young when I was in his presence.  Though he has spent time with some of the great minds and souls of the civil rights movement in this country during the past many years (including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), Dr. young always made me feel as though my involvement in single-payer work was equal to that of anyone else.  I appreciated that "walking the talk" behavior.

Some independent filmmakers in Chicago are taking on a project to document Dr. Young's life work, and they could use support for the project.  The film will be title, "The Good Doctor Young: The Movie."  Please take a look at the Facebook page they have created: https://www.facebook.com/TheGoodDoctorYoungTheMovie

And if you are so inclined, please support the project:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thegooddoctoryoung/the-good-dr-young

Even though today is the final official day for the inititial fundraising effort for the project, more support will just mean that the project can have the production and promotion it deserves.  

Peace all.  And thanks, Dr. Young, for truly believeing in "everybody in, nobody out" health care.

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