Monday, October 26, 2009

Moms Lobby Isakson for Healtcare Reform

Yesterday morning Caitlin and I met up with the online organizing group at Senator Isakson's district office to join them in their effort to lobby senators across the nation for healthcare reform. While it was certainly a novel experience to sit in the plush conference room of a Congressional office and watch the national healthcare debate played out between the well-informed women of MomsRising and one of the Senator's top legislative aides, what I will remember most about the meeting is stories the mothers shared.

Each of the four women arrived on a mission to make sure the Senator heard the story of how the healthcare system had failed their family. As soon as we sat down their heartbreaking stories began pouring out. Michelle Law, whose son has cerebral palsy among a host of other medical problems, explained that even when her son is covered by both private insurance and Medicaid, their family goes into tens of thousands of dollars of debt each year to pay for the cost of simply keeping him alive. Kathie McClure, who started the non-profit, told how her daughter can never receive coverage from a private insurer because her Type 1 diabetes is considered a pre-exisiting condition. Another mother, Barbara Souter, spent two years googling her daughters symptoms to try and diagnose her disease as the family continued to pay out of pocket for every test and procedure she underwent.

These mothers not only spoke of the failing system from the perspective of personal experience, but with a formidable amount of knowledge of the ins and outs of healthcare legislation, state and federal policies, and insurance procedure. Their resounding message was ultimately one of universal coverage and care for all. Caitlin and I both left in awe of the commitment these mothers have made to being engaged in the political process (Barbara told us she had both Georgia senators on speed dial!) I am both grateful that they are making sure the voices of working families and mothers are being heard in this debate, and hopeful that their efforts will make a difference.

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