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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The inauguration of Pres. Obama: A new era of responsibility - aleinu

In his inaugural speech, the President called on us to "begin again the work of remaking America." He later commented,

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

I've been giving my all to this difficult task, as have many readers. Now, in our healthcare and patient safety realm, there is both an encouraging early sign and a special sense of urgency.

Encouragingly, in the economic stimulus package, the version being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives includes $20 billion for health information technology. The President has called for making electronic medical records widely available to make our healthcare safer and less expensive.

Sen. Teddy Kennedy experienced a seizure during his lunch with Pres. Obama. Kennedy is terminally ill with brain cancer, and he has focused the rest of his life on achieving national health insurance. This underlines our sense of urgency: the time is now. As Rabbi Hillel said, "If not now, when?"

Indeed, many Jewish services end with the song Aleinu ("it is our duty," or literally, "it’s on us"). We can make that our personal closing benediction to the inauguration of our Community Organizer in Chief.

Advice: Host a house meeting on health care reform, and summarize the story for www.change.gov

Read another story from a speech by Barack Obama.

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