Last week I stopped in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, to visit friends, and they reminded me that the Verso paper mill was slated for closure at the end of July. The closure is now history. As I think about that news, it causes a lot of sorrow. Not unlike the sorrow that I have felt many times in my life on the occasion of the death of one of my patients.

My patients were mostly children, and child deaths are particularly heart wrenching. So many hopes and dreams for the blossoming of a young life cut short by serious accident or deadly disease. Nine hundred people had their hopes and dreams cut short in Wisconsin Rapids in July with the closure of the Verso paper mill. We mourn. I mourn with them. When the time comes, we pick up the pieces of our lives and move on.

It is hard. Too hard. I dream of the day when families might have it a little less hard to meet grave tragedy like the loss of employment because payment for their healthcare services will always be there and will not be tied directly to the place of their employment. I am committed to obtaining national healthcare insurance for all people as a right that we all share. National healthcare insurance that is always there no matter what. I dream of a kinder world to live in.

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