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As many of you prepare for the holidays and some of you may have already celebrated your holiday, tomorrow morning at 8AM, one of the most important votes in our history will be cast on the United States Senate floor.  For many months, we have debated, argued and at times, conversed politely about how we can give tens of millions of Americans access to affordable healthcare.  We, the progressives, came into this wanting single-payer, universal healthcare, me included.  We compromised with a “public option,” only to see that slowly get debated away.  And now we are left with a bill that neither side is incredibly happy about, but from experience, I know it means that it is a good piece of legislation.

I remember the attacks I received from the Republicans and Democrats when we were trying to get the Rockefeller Drug Laws reformed in 2003.  By 2005, we couldn’t get everything we wanted, but thousands of people came home from prison because small changes were enacted.  With a win under our belt, we kept chipping away at it, and by the time Gov. David Paterson took office, we knew we had a shot to get rid of the whole thing once and for all.  And we did.

In a show of support of many of the good elements of the Senate healthcare reform bill, I encourage its passage.  At the same time, we must continue to work hard and work together to make further reforms in the years to come.  This is just the first step towards a long process of making healthcare a right and not a privilege.  Tis’ the season to be healthy!

-Russell Simmons

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