by: Michael Bersin
February 4, 2010:
I got a letter -- I got a note today from one of my staff -- they forwarded it to me -- from a woman in St. Louis who had been part of our campaign, very active, who had passed away from breast cancer. She didn't have insurance. She couldn't afford it, so she had put off having the kind of exams that she needed. And she had fought a tough battle for four years. All through the campaign she was fighting it, but finally she succumbed to it. And she insisted she's going to be buried in an Obama t-shirt. (Laughter.)
But think about this: She was fighting that whole time not just to get me elected, not even to get herself health insurance, but because she understood that there were others coming behind her who were going to find themselves in the same situation and she didn't want somebody else going through that same thing. (Applause.) How can I say to her, "You know what? We're giving up"? How can I say to her family, "This is too hard"? How can Democrats on the Hill say, "This is politically too risky"? How can Republicans on the Hill say, "We're better off just blocking anything from happening"?
It is unconscionable that those who claim to "represent" us enjoy excellent, easily accessed health care while heroic Americans like Melanie are allowed to die because of the political "risk" Blue Dogs like Claire McCaskill are afraid to take. If the members of Congress had half the courage and integrity that Melanie had, we wouldn't even be having this conversation in 2010. Shame on them.
Health Care for America Now leaders are calling for rallies on February 17 - three days after Melanie's memorial service. How many more Melanies must die before we get the attention of our "leaders"?