Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner Headshot

Mama Grizzlies for Health Reform (Heck yah, we're all Mama Grizzlies for our kids)

Posted: Updated:

There's been a lot of media coverage lately about the rise of high profile political moms in the Tea Party movement, and, of course of Sarah Palin herself who's said, "You don't want to mess with moms who are rising up... you don't want to mess with Mama Grizzlies."

But what's been less sensational news--and what isn't as commonly reported--is that moms are rising up across the political spectrum.

Turns out, we're all Mama Grizzlies for our kids.

And moms are increasingly coming together to protect our families, as well as to support measures that build long-term family economic security, including health care reform.

Yes, moms are rising up.

And they are indeed rising up across the political spectrum.

Yet too often the airwaves are dominated by the grizzly anti-health care hype, while the fact that there's actually a broad movement of engaged and active moms in our nation--many of whom have fought for health care and other family economic security policies--is overlooked.

You see while some politicians, pundits, and prognosticators have taken to the airwaves to claim that health reform is too complicated, cumbersome, and doomed to failure; real moms across the nation who have supported, and who are directly affected by, the new law are excited about having increased access to health care.

How do we know that?

They're telling us.

2010-09-22-images-healthcaremap.jpg

*Click the map above to read the real-life experiences of moms and dads across the nation about how health reform is already helping their families.

You'll find stories like this one from Michelle, a MomsRising member from Texas, about how new protections for health care consumers are already helping her son:


"My 20 year old son Jordan had lymphoma as a young child. After many years of painful and expensive treatment, he is thankfully in full remission. He is currently attending college and pursuing a music degree. His dream is to one day be a professional musician. Jordan is very gifted and has the talent and work ethic to obtain this dream but I found myself trying to steer him into other areas of study. My reasoning was rooted in the knowledge that many professional musicians are privately insured and that it would be impossible for him to purchase private insurance with his pre-existing condition.

Over the past couple of years, Jordan discussed his dreams and future plans less and less with me. At the time, I believed this was just a natural part of becoming his own person. He was seeking my advice less often and I had to grill him to get any details on his progress with his studies.

Since the Health Care Reform Law was adopted, a heavy burden was limited. I no longer fear that he will be unprotected. I have stopped trying to discourage him from his chosen path.

I never realized the damage I was doing until he came to me a few weeks ago and told me that he was so happy that I was now supporting him and encouraging him in the field of his choice. After we talked further, it became clear that my frequent "suggestions" to look into other areas of study made him feel that I did not approve or that I didn't believe in him. This was very painful for me to hear because I love my son and cherish the great relationship we have. If I had continued to feel compelled to discourage him, I might have done irreparable damage to our relationship and to his self esteem.

I know in the scheme of things, my story is not as life and death as some stories but I truly believe that the passage of this legislation makes it possible for my son to realize his American Dream and makes it possible for me to give him the unconditional love and support he needs to do just that."

Moms like Michelle are speaking up when their families' health and economic security are at stake.

And, the internet and new technologies are allowing mothers to make their voices heard as never before. For instance, "respected social media groups estimate between 23 million and 26 million moms are in the blogosphere." This means that now a full one-third of the 83 million moms in our nation are participating in having their voices heard online, which is where an increasing number of people are now going to get their news.

To bring more of these voices forward, MomsRising is hosting a blog carnival on health reform, which includes policy analysis from experts, personal stories from moms and dads across the nation, and articles from around the web about how health reform is helping families.

That's right. Moms are rising up to make sure their voices are heard.

And with over 80% of women in our nation becoming mothers by the time they're forty-four, that's a lot of voices.

Moms are rising up to celebrate and secure health care for their families, and they are rising up to combat falling family economic security. This uprising is needed. The U.S. Census reported that 1 in 7 people in our nation were living in poverty last year, and the USDA reported that nearly 1 in 4 kids in our nation are experiencing food scarcity due to family economic limitations.

With these challenges on the home front, it's no wonder that an increasing number of mothers are coming together and rising up to make their voices heard. This is evidenced by the fast growth of the non-partisan group, MomsRising.org, which has quickly grown from a handful of moms at the organization's inception four years ago to more than a million members today--members who have made millions of constituent contacts in support of health reform and other policies to strengthen family economic security like paycheck fairness, sick days, family leave, early learning opportunities and more in the last year alone. MomsRising members came out in force to fight for health reform by sharing their personal stories about why their families needed better health care at in-district meetings with U.S. Senate offices across the nation, they have sent letters, made calls, and walked the halls of Congress fighting for their families to get the health coverage they needed.

Now, with the successful passage of health care reform, across the country families are breathing a collective sigh of relief knowing that loved ones who were previously unable to get health care or who were in danger of being cut off from health care will now be able to get the treatment they need with new provisions starting today.

September 23rd marks not only the six month anniversary of this important law, but also the day that a number of provisions go into effect that will curb health insurance industries' worst abuses. These provisions include:

  • A ban on insurance companies discriminating against kids with pre-existing conditions;
  • A ban on insurance companies dropping people from coverage when they get sick;
  • A ban on insurance companies putting a lifetime limit on the amount of coverage they provide, so families can live with the security of knowing that their coverage will be there when they need it most;
  • And, young adults can now stay on their parent's health insurance plan up to age 26 if their job doesn't provide health care benefits.

These provisions are already making a huge difference in the lives of families in our nation, families who've been struggling and can now sleep better at night.

However, we can't completely rest because there are opponents to health care reform working right now to repeal and block implementation. The stakes are simply too high to let any health care opponents, including one subset of of highly visible Mama Grizzlies, to speak on behalf of all America's mothers.

We're all Mama Grizzlies for our kids.

We Mama Grizzlies celebrate the new protections that health care reform brings to our families. So, to the politicians, pundits, and prognosticators who want to repeal and de-fund this new health reform law, we are rising up to say, "No way, no how!"