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11-Year-Old Fights for Health Care Reform After Mother's Death

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BV Black Spin: Congress wouldn't listen to people like Tiffany Owens talk about the need for affordable health care coverage, but maybe they will listen to her 11-year-old orphaned son, Marcelas.

Owens died, her family says, because she developed pulmonary hypertension and was unable to work. When Owens lost her job, she lost her health coverage and could not afford to buy any on her own. Owens fought for passage of health care reform in her final days, and now her son is carrying on in her memory.

"I'm telling the members of Congress that the health care bill should be passed because everyone deserves health care," Marcelas said during an interview on MSNBC.

"The health care system is broken, and it caused my mother's death," Marcelas added.

Talk about wisdom coming from the mouth of babes.Marcelas is an articulate and heart-wrenching example of why we need health care reform in this country. The young boy says he saw his mother struggle with the disease. She gained a lot of water weight and was unable to walk, he said.

Owens' mother said her daughter was "strong-willed and very independent."

"She was the kind of person who didn't want to ask for help if she didn't need it. A lot of that has impacted Marcelas," she said.

While Congress argues about the dollars and cents of health care reform, people like Owens are literally dying and children like her son are watching. It is the human costs that come with leaving 46-million Americans without health care coverage that we should be concerned about. That should be the driving motivation for Congress.

Marcelas says the reaction he has received from members of Congress to his lobbying efforts has been mixed.

"Half of them encourage me, but some don't like hearing what I say," Marcelas said. "What I want is not what they want," he added.

All Marcelas and millions of families without health care want is an affordable option to get it. They want to not worry about going bankrupt and becoming homeless because of medical bills. They want to know that if they become sick and lose their job after 30 years of working and paying taxes, that their medical needs will be met.

Marcelas is only 11, but he already knows that caring for people is more important than money. It's a lesson this country has yet to learn.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rose ~ RedNeckWitch March 12, 2010, 3:41 PM

Go Marcelas! I’m proud that our children are taking notice, AND acting upon these things. I am so sorry for the loss their family has suffered. The saddest part is that Marcelas is not alone.

There are many of us (yes I am included) that are not able to afford health coverage. We don’t want a hand out, we want a hand UP!

Brittney March 13, 2010, 9:11 AM

My heart goes out to Marcelas, but with the way Congress is acting, I don’t think he has much of a chance. They aren’t going to take a child seriously, even when they should.

How sad that Congressman are acting more childish than an 11-year-old boy who lost his mother far sooner than he should have. They should be doing what’s best for the American people; that is why they are in Congress in the first place.

Lissalou March 23, 2010, 11:53 AM

As a 30 year old mother with this same condition, I still have mixed feelings about the Bill. I know it has a lot of good things and bad things about it. I recently lost my own mother to heart problems that we nor she could afford to get treated. We don’t want a handout either. When I think reform I think things like, “Why are hospitals allowed to charge me ten dollars for one baby aspirin?”

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