On Tuesday, January 18th a state Senate committee hearing considered Senator Jane Cunningham’s (R-Chesterfield) nonbinding resolution (SR27) urging AG Chris Koster to join the frivolous lawsuit challenging the mandate in the health care reform bill. Twenty activists urged the Republicans on the panel to remember that government’s purpose is to protect us in situations where we as individuals cannot fend for ourselves. We cannot, for example, prevent health insurers from dumping the most vulnerable and getting fat on premiums from their healthier customers. Those who attended the hearing spoke repeatedly about Judith Parker’s testimony. Parker’s four year old granddaughter has cancer, and the whole family fears that by the time the little girl is five, she will have reached the lifetime caps that health insurers would continue to impose if it were not for the Affordable Care Act.
The audio track is not the best, but I’ll transcribe what I can hear. What I can definitely hear is the passion in Parker’s voice. And although the camera doesn’t show Parker’s face, we can see, at the end, the concern that her remarks elicited from Sen. Jolie Justus (D-KC).
I want to tell you about my granddaughter, who, as we speak here today, is in Children’s Hospital in St. Louis County. She is there with an infection after twenty months of chemotherapy for cancer. She has no resistance. It’s hard for me to sit here today with her in St. Louis. She has another nine to ten months of chemotherapy to go. The reasons why I am here and not with her … there are three compelling reasons.
I’m just getting rid of a cold and I can’t be in the room with her. I’m thankful for all of modern technology. I can visit with her as soon as I get home, as I do, on Skype. We visit two or three times a day and check with each other.
I am here because we (inaudible) and we pray, my family and I, we pray that (inaudible) will keep her with us. We are also burdened with the sheer fact of what’s gonna happen. Is she gonna reach the end of her coverage this year? She came very close to it last year. And when is she gonna run out with her lifetime coverage? She’s four years old, for pete’s sake, and we are worried about lifetime coverage. we are looking forward to the fact that if this particular bill does not stay in place, she will not be able to get (inaudible).
So why am I here. Because she is worth being here to speak up for affordable and accessible health care. And if you go into any of the hospitals, the children’s hospitals and other hospitals, it is not just my granddaughter, it is all of them. I urge you to go talk to those who are seriously ill and don’t know whether or not their coverage will continue. I urge you to go talk to those who if they had just gotten preventive care sooner would not be so seriously ill.
Thank you for allowing me to speak. (inaudible)
I hope to learn at some point which Republican senators did not stay in the chamber the next day to vote on Cunningham’s resolution. All of them on the panel voted it out of committee, but I’d be pleased if I saw that some of those same senators didn’t want to support it on the final floor vote. Judith Parker’s testimony is not hysterical, although she and her family may well have felt moments of hysteria. Her calm passion in the face of people who would deny a four year old the health care she needs speaks volumes about her commitment. And the fact that anyone could vote to dismantle reform speaks volumes as well.
[As happened with the video on my previous posting, the video is not showing on the front page on my server. If you’ll click “Discuss”, you’ll find the video beyond the fold.]