I wanted to take a moment to thank you directly for the outstanding work you’ve been doing as part of Organizing for America’s Final March for Reform. I can tell you that your voice is heard in Washington every day. I see how your efforts are moving us toward victory.
But I also know that with just days remaining, the final vote is shaping up to be extremely close. Everything we’ve worked for is on the line, and your voice is needed now more than ever before.
Raise your voice today: We must all speak out together to finish the job.
In these final, crucial days, much more will be asked of us. Our resolve will be tested.
During moments like this, I believe it’s important to remember why we have worked so hard for so long. That’s why I spoke to the country Monday at a gathering in Ohio and said it plainly: I’m here for Natoma.
Natoma Canfield is like most of us: She works hard, and tries to do what’s right. Years ago, she had battled back from cancer, so she always maintained health insurance in case she ever really needed it again. But because of her medical history, the insurance company kept raising her deductible and her premiums.
Last year alone, Natoma paid over $10,000 in monthly premiums and co-pays, while her insurance company chipped in just $900. And then they hiked up her rates another 40%. She simply couldn’t afford it — she had to cancel her policy. That’s when she wrote to me. I read her letter, and shared her story with insurance company CEOs as another reason why the system has to change.
That was two weeks ago. Then, just last week, the unthinkable happened: Natoma collapsed, and was rushed to a hospital. It’s leukemia — the cancer has returned. Now she’s in the hospital, worried sick not just about her condition, but how she’ll financially survive.
So why am I still in this fight? Simple. I’m here for Natoma.
I’m here because of the countless others who have been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. I’m here for the small business owners forced to chose between health care and hiring. I’m here for the folks who are forced to watch helplessly as their premiums skyrocket with no reason or recourse.
And I’m here for my mother. She died of cancer, and in the last six months of her life, I saw her on the phone in her hospital room arguing with insurance companies instead of focusing on getting well and spending time with her family.
As I was finishing my remarks Monday, a woman in the crowd called out, “we need courage.” She’s right.
The politicians in Washington need courage to face down the powerful interests who have held back progress for far too long. And all of us who share this cause need courage to speak up with persistence and clarity in these final days.
I’ve always found that courage comes from remembering that we fight for something and someone beyond ourselves. It comes from our faith. And it comes from our commitment to those we love.
So please take a moment to remember those who inspire you — those who give you the strength to march on.
There’s very little time left, and still much to do. But I believe to my core in the power of Americans to change history when we put our mind to it. And if you’ll stay with us in these final days, I know we can do it again:
Thank you for making it possible,
President Barack Obama
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