Video by Matt Johnson
Press release from Take Action Minnesota:
St. Paul, MN – A day before the U.S. House is expected to take up an historic debate of health care reform legislation, Minnesotans financially and emotionally devastated by lack of access to affordable health care held a press conference at the Capitol to share their stories of why a public health insurance option is urgently needed. Their message? We’re counting on Minnesota’s eight U.S. Representatives to pass H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, including a public option, when it reaches the floor for a vote later this week. A vote is expected as soon as Saturday.
The press conference announced the release of twenty-four personal stories of Minnesotans for whom a public option would make all the difference. The twenty-four stories, from around the state, are being emailed one per hour, for twenty-four hours, to all eight of Minnesota’s U.S. House members and their staffs (starting at 6am this morning, and continuing until 5am tomorrow morning). The stories put a face on the health care crisis in Minnesota and have helped to personalize the urgency for Congress to provide a bold federal solution.
Dan McGrath, Executive Director of TakeAction Minnesota, one of the organizational members of the HCAN coalition, opened the press conference by sharing his own story of being diagnosed with Type I diabetes as an adult, only a few months after his employer began offering insurance. McGrath said that while his story ended well, far too many end in tragedy and could be avoided if Americans were given the choice of a public option alongside private insurance plans.
One such story is that of Nora Longley, who died in May 2009 of adrenal cancer. Her uncle, Bob Parker, spoke passionately that Longley might have lived if she had been able to access health care and gain treatment earlier than she did. “Had a public health insurance option been available to Nora early on, when she was struggling to afford coverage and was found ineligible for MinnesotaCare, her cancer would have been more treatable. For our family, a public option may have allowed Nora the chance to live.”
McGrath said that the stories being sent to Minnesota’s congressional delegation today bring an emotional reality to the debate going on in Washington. “These are real lives that have been wrecked by our current health care system. Opponents of reform don’t want to hear these stories. But the majority of Americans, in poll after poll, say they would benefit from the choice of a public health insurance option. And the Minnesotans telling their stories today are depending on Congress to pass a public option. It’s do or die time.”
To access the twenty-four stories as they are released one per hour throughout the day, please visit www.TakeActionMinnesota.org.