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Old October 4th, 2008, 03:56 PM   #1
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Barack in Newport News, VA: "This is not who we are"

Barack spoke to residents of Newport News, Virginia this morning about healthcare and it's impact on Americans. He believes that every single American has the right to affordable, accessible health care because he knows to well the effect that health care issues can have on families.
I’m thinking today about my mother [today]. She died of ovarian cancer at the age of 53. She fought valiantly, and endured the pain and chemotherapy with grace and good humor. But I’ll never forget how she spent the final months of her life. At a time when she should have been focused on getting well, at a time when she should have been taking stock of her life and taking comfort in her family, she was lying in a hospital bed, fighting with her insurance company because they didn’t want to cover her treatment. They claimed that her cancer was a pre-existing condition.

So I know something about the heartbreak caused by our health care system.

I know something about the anxiety of families hanging on by a thread as premiums have doubled these past eight years, and they’re going into debt, and more than half – half – of all personal bankruptcies are caused in part by medical bills.

I know about the frustration of the nearly 40 percent of small business owners who can no longer afford to insure their employees – folks who work day and night, but have to lay people off, or shut their doors for good, because of rising health care costs.

I know the outrage we all feel about the 45 million Americans who don’t have health insurance – kids who can’t see a doctor when they’re sick; parents cutting their pills in half and praying for the best; folks who wind up in the emergency room in the middle of the night because they’ve got nowhere else to turn.

But I also know that this is not who we are.

We are not a country where a young woman I met should have to work the night shift after a full day of college and still not be able to pay the medical bills for her sister who’s ill. That’s not right – and it’s not who we are.

We are not a country where a man I met should have to file for bankruptcy after he had a stroke, because he faced nearly $200,000 in medical costs that he couldn’t afford and his insurance company didn’t cover. That’s not right – and it’s not who we are.

We are not a country that rewards hard work and perseverance with debt and worry. We’ve never been a country that lets major challenges go unsolved and unaddressed. And we are tired of watching as year after year, candidates offer up detailed health care plans with great fanfare and promise, only to see them crushed under the weight of Washington politics and drug and insurance lobbying once the campaign is over.

That is not who we are. And that is not who we have to be.

Read Barack's full remarks, as prepared for delivery...
You can read about Barack's detailed healthcare plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all Americans.

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