I recently had the honor of introducing Dr. Howard Dean at a health care forum in Denver at First Unitarian Church in Denver. I told the true story of a health care crisis in my family. Here is my story and introduction of Dr. Dean.
Our daughter, Abby, graduated from Colorado State University in 2004, then moved to New York City to work for a very large corporation in the entertainment industry. A benefit of the job was health insurance; however, they wouldn’t provide coverage until the employee had worked for the company for one year. Abby tried to get a short term health policy, but was told that because of 9-11, a reasonably priced insurance policy was impossible to find, since New York City was high risk for another attack.
Abby went without an insurance policy, hoping to remain healthy. At ten months of employment, she became very ill, and in great pain, took the subway to the emergency room. She was diagnosed with an ovarian tumor that would require surgery. Because this was the beginning of her career, she had no collateral and a very low credit card limit. There was no way she could pay for the surgery and other expenses (doctors appointments, lab tests, radiology, and other relevant exams) associated with her illness. My husband and I were fortunate to have equity in our home and were able to take a loan against it, to pay for her expenses.
This experience brought to light, all too clearly, how close we all are to losing everything due to a health issue. Our forefathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we “are endowed by their (our) Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”
In the United States, it is unconscionable that its citizens are under undue stress, worried about what would happen if a loved one were to become seriously ill, or their life in jeopardy. Health care must be a right, not a privilege.
If we are serious about guaranteeing everyone in this country access to quality affordable health care we’ve got to have e a choice of a public option. It is encouraging that a national figure like Dr Howard Dean is playing a leadership role in health care reform.
Before entering politics, Governor Howard Dean received his medical degree in 1978 and practiced internal medicine in Vermont. He served as governor of Vermont from 1991-2003. He gained national prominence as a US presidential candidate in 2004. Most recently he led the Democratic Party to success as Chairman of Democratic the national Committee from 2005-2009 by employing the 50 state strategy.
He has returned to Democracy for America the organization that he founded after his presidential campaign. His currently focuses on energy issues and health care.
We are excited to have Dr. Dean here today to tell us how we can be successful in a achieving healthcare reform that allows individuals and businesses to choose between a public health insurance plan or a private one. Please welcome Dr. Dean.
Below are links to the press coverage of the event.