Friday, March 12, 2010

Insurance Victims Tell Congress: Pass Health Care Reform Now

A panel of 24 victims of insurance industry abuse and their families told their heart-rending stories directly to members of Congress this morning and asked the lawmakers to listen to the American people and pass health care reform that works for us, not Big Insurance.

Marcelas Owens is spending his 11th birthday telling lawmakers it’s time to provide real health care to all Americans. Marcelas, who lives in Seattle, lost his mother, Tiffany, in 2007. She was too sick to work and lost her job as manager of a fast-food restaurant. She also lost her health insurance. She died of pulmonary hypertension at age 27.

Today’s forum on Capitol Hill, where Congress is debating how to fix the nation’s broken health care system, follows nationwide rallies yesterday, including one in Washington, D.C., where we told Big Insurance that blocking health care reform is a crime.

Members of Congress also heard from Leslie Boyd of Asheville, N.C., whose uninsured son died in 2008 at age 33 after a delayed diagnosis for colon cancer because he could not afford colonoscopies. Boyd’s husband also recently suffered a heart attack after his insurance company delayed approving his doctor’s request for a stress test.

They heard from Marcus Grimes of Woodbridge, Va., a former teacher who lost his sight because he did not have the $3,000 down payment for doctor-recommended surgeries that would have saved his sight (see video above). Speaking to the rally yesterday, Grimes said:

When you leave here to go to your congressman, go to your senator and tell them: “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.” We ask you senators. We ask your representatives. What side of history do you want to be on? We should have no more people dying….We stand as one. We walk softly, but we carry a big stick.

The forum on Capitol Hill, and yesterday’s rally, were sponsored by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), a coalition of more than 100 organizations, including the AFL-CIO and many union affiliates. You can read the stories of all 24 victims of insurance abuse here.

Wendell Potter, a former vice president of insurance giant CIGNA and now senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy, moderated today’s forum. He points out the insurance industry is trying to drown out the voices of ordinary Americans in the health care debate.
See more HERE from the AFL-CIO

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