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No one who is healthy wants to believe they will get sick. No one expects to get cancer, or renal failure, or into a car accident. No one tries to become the victim of a heart attack, or a terrorist attack, mental illness. No one believes that they will become addicted, or that their baby will be born without fully formed lungs. And most importantly, no one expects to be denied health care. We all believe that doctors and nurses and EMTS and police will not leave us or our children to die or refuse to help us recover. Not me, not you. People are better than this. Our country is better than this. But we must make it so.

What could we do? When the Senate bill came out, I met with two groups of parents, colleagues, church members, and friends concerned about health care. I’m a lawyer, so I read the Senate bill. We also read newspaper articles and talked about our concerns about cuts to Medicaid and what would happen to essential services like mental health and rehabilitation therapy and pediatric services if the Senate or House bills were passed. But not for too long. Then we set out to write our health care stories. Some of us wrote one story, and some of us wrote three, or four, or six because we have children, siblings, parents, neighbors, or others we care about who need affordable health care for what we can foresee and what we can’t.

We are all Massachusetts residents, but cancer and Alzheimer’s doesn’t care where you live. Our health care stories take place in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina Texas, Vermont, Washington, and all of our stories describe situations that people in every state in the country experience. Like many of you, we are Moms (and Dads), teachers, volunteers, lawyers, artists, film makers, social workers, writers, former health care administrators, athletes, college administrators, computer programmers, dog walkers, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, among other things. Some of us are well-off, some of us would be considered middle-class or working class, some of us are retired or on modest fixed incomes, and some of us fall below the poverty line. Many of us are currently insured through our employers, several of us or our family members have purchased individual health insurance policies on the ACA Marketplace, and some of us depend on Medicare and/or Medicaid.

When we’d each written our stories—about an hour later—we shared them, and discussed the impact of the proposed bills. We talked about how to amend the bills and how the Affordable Care Act might be improved, and we added a proposed amendment to each story. Then we all went home and proofed our stories. I compiled them into the collection of 97 Health Care Stories and Proposed Amendments to the Senate BCRA and the House AHCA and sent it to our Senators. And we sent it to MomsRising to share with you.

The Senate Leadership says that they will be holding a “Vote-arama” next week in which Senators can propose and vote on amendments to the Senate bill. We are respectfully submitting to Congress our ninety-five stories and proposed amendments. Please join us. Tell your stories, as we have shared ours. (You can send your story to MomsRising here.)

Look at our proposed amendments which are in our collection of stories and which I have also set out separately here. Pick one that speaks to you, or come up with your own. Send your story and proposed amendment by e-mail or fax to your Senators (and Representatives). CALL your Senators and ask them if they will be introducing your amendment (you can get connected quickly through MomsRising’s hotline: 1-888-496-4842). If they don’t agree to propose your amendment, send your story & amendment to a Democratic Senator and ask him or her to introduce your proposed amendment. We will not stop until every voice is heard. 

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