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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Be brave anyway: Marcelas and Tiffany Owens and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Here's what I imagine the late Tiffany Owens would say today to her 11-year-old son Marcelas, who was beside Pres. Obama at the signing of the healthcare reform bill:

To my beautiful young man Marcelas,

I'm so proud of you! Thank you so much for being brave in speaking for me to all those important men and women. I wish I could be with you.

A lot of people have been yelling at you on TV and blogs. Try not to let that bother you. When you stand up for something you believe in like you've been doing, people on the other side can get mad, especially if you're effective. Maybe, like they say, I could have done things that might have prevented my health from getting so bad, but maybe not. I don't know enough about pulmonary hypertension to know. I'm not sure anyone does. And that misses the point, anyway. The point is that sick people should still be able to be taken care of by doctors and nurses, even if they lost their job, and don't have health insurance anymore. That's what you told all those people, and that's exactly what I wanted you to tell them.

People won't always listen to you as much as they did about this. But you should still speak your mind, with respect. And, of course, you may well never get to the White House again! Don't expect that you'll always be rewarded for being brave – but be brave anyway.

There are lots of people here with stories like mine – 45,000 every year, who died because they didn't have health insurance. You helped to speak for them, too. And you helped to save the lives of lots of people like them, from now on, because of the new law.

I miss you so much, Marcelas! Give a big hug to your Grandma, and do what she tells you.

Much love,

Your mother

Advice: Remember Tiffany Owens.

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