I like waffles on the weekend, but not this kind. Today's vote on health reform is a nail-biter and a number of the Members of Congress are still undecided. Among them is Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat from Orange County, California. Clearly, the health reform bill is not perfect, but it's an important start at addressing a monumental problem for California and the nation.
The need for health reform in California couldn't be more clear. A recently released study by UCLA Center for Health Policy Research finds that nearly two million Californians lost their health insurance during 2008 and 2009, years which were characterized by a deep recession and mass layoffs bringing the total number of uninsured in the state to more than eight million. That number represents a 25 percent increase in the number of uninsured since 2007.
This need creates heartbreak for too many families. Recently, a MomsRising member, and mother of three, wrote us to say that because she doesn't have health insurance, she can't afford a crucial test that would show whether her cancer is in remission. So, she has to face her children and her husband every single day, not knowing how long she has to live. She doesn't know and they don't know whether she's going to be cancer-free or if her body is still fighting for its life. No family should have to deal with that kind of agony and heartbreak.
Today we have the chance to make a critical difference in the lives of Californians and so many people across the country struggling to obtain or keep health insurance.
While there are certainly reasons not to like the health reform bill, none are good enough to stand in the way of an estimated 32 million people gaining health insurance through this historic legislation; and without reform, health care will continue to drag our families, small businesses, and our economy down.
In fact, Representative Sanchez herself said in her tweet on March 16th at 8:39am: "1 in 4 Californians lack health insurance (including over 190,000 in Orange County). Major, major drag on state & local economy."
We urge Representative Loretta Sanchez to address this urgent need for affordable and secure health care in her district and throughout California that she highlighted on Twitter. We also urge her colleagues in Congress to stand with moms, children, and families by voting yes today for health reform.
You can contact the office of Representative Sanchez to tell her that families are counting on her to vote YES via fax at (202) 225-5859 or phone at (202) 225-2965. And, you can also post messages on her two Facebook pages after you click "Become a Fan" on her pages at http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Loretta-Sanchez/6282804763?ref=ts and http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/LorettaSanchez?ref=ts
And, it's not just Representative Sanchez who's waffling today. The Washington Post top headline this morning reads, "Healthcare Cliff Hanger", and the article notes: "Senior Democrats predicted a cliffhanger when the House is expected to vote Sunday night, saying they are likely to clear the 216-vote threshold for final passage by the narrowest of margins."
With so many Congressional waffles on the table this morning, it's not a bad idea to take a moment out of your weekend and give your Representative a call (again, if you've called in the past) today before the vote. Here's a link to find the direct number to your Representative's office, so you can make that last minute call before the health care vote reminding them to vote YES for families: http://bit.ly/cNse8m
Although it's the weekend, Congressional waffles shouldn't be on the menu today. Covering 32 million people is serious business. Too many lives are at stake with this vote.
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