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.