(guest blogged by Sam from Obama's campaign)
Hi Everyone-- My name is Sam Graham-Felsen and I'm the blogger for the Obama for America campaign. A woman named Amy wrote to us recently to share her family's health care nightmare story. Like thousands of Americans, Amy and her family are insured-- but high premiums have left them drowning in debt. When her soon-to-be-husband Lane was 21, he got cancer, losing a lung, a leg bone, and part of his hip. Lane is now cancer free but because he owns a small business, he and Amy have to pay for their own health care. They pay over a thousand dollars a month--insurance costs account for nearly forty percent of the family income.
I visited Amy at her home in Iowa to follow up and hear more about how America's health care system had failed her family. "When I think back on all those years and all that money we spent," she told me, "it's just so painful. We can't afford to buy a house, we don't have a retirement plan, we don't have any savings, we don't have any college savings for our three kids. And if the premiums were even half of what they are we'd be able to afford those things. There's not even money to buy clothes for the kids." Amy is looking for work and her husband, who runs a Internet service provider for the community, is also looking for additional work. They don't want to give up their business, but they are close to bankruptcy.
Later on in the day, I spoke to Lane at his office. He is proud of the business he built, but he feels that he has been punished for pursuing his dream of entrepreneurship. He just wants to be able to get by without having to radically alter his life's path. "I'm not interested in getting a free ride," said Lane. "I like to work. I work hard. I'd like to be rewarded for my hard work, but in the situation we're in with health care, when you've previously been sick, there's just no way to be rewarded."
Yesterday, Barack unveiled his health care plan-- a plan that will help hundreds of thousands of people like Amy and Lane-- people who are insured but are still being left behind. America's health care crisis isn't just about the 45 million who are uninsured, its about the countless others who have insurance but can barely afford to pay the bills.
I'm grateful that Amy shared her story with me and with this campaign. She told me that she was tired of a system that failed her and that was failing others like her across the country, and that she felt it was finally time to stand up and say something. People like Amy have truly helped to shape the direction of Barack's policy and, in time, will help change the direction of this country.