How long till universal healthcare?

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This question is taking on some urgency for me and the thousands of other American workers facing layoffs. Because the only thing that scares me more than not having an income is not having health insurance.

“Not to worry,” said my husband, cheerfully. “Obama will get us universal healthcare.”

There’s talk that healthcare is bumping its way down the to-do list for the president-elect, though, with the economy taking precedence. Let me tell you something, Mr. President. The economy and healthcare are one. If we lose our jobs, that means we lose our coverage, as more than half of Americans are insured by our employers. If we get sick and our savings are decimated by medical bills, then you better believe we’re not out there buying cars or flat-screen TVs.

So it’s a good thing that four big advocacy groups are ganging up on Obama, starting today, to shove healthcare reform to the top of the agenda. The groups plan a million-dollar newspaper ad campaign to press their case. From the L.A. Times:

In a letter to Obama, the Business Roundtable, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, AARP and the Service Employees International Union urge that a healthcare overhaul be a priority in the administration’s first 100 days.

But putting an issue on the agenda, not to mention a big ol’ mess like healthcare reform, isn’t the same as gettin’ ‘er done. So I ask you: how long, you think, till universal healthcare?