11/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Broken Politics

Americans need a real debate on health insurance reform, and real relief from skyrocketing health care costs. But as Congressman Wilson showed with his outburst last week, there are still a lot of Washington politicians who put politics ahead of solving problems. What American families need is a health care system that's more competitive, and offers lower prices. They need a health care system that stops insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, or dropping your coverage when you get sick. What Congressman Wilson is offering is more of the same broken politics that got us in this mess in the first place.

Too many of us have stories about the failures of our current health insurance system impacting our lives. When I was 14 years old, my father became terminally ill and our family was forced to live paycheck to paycheck. Despite having insurance, all of our money was dedicated to the cost of his care. When he died, all of our debt revolved around his illness, from covering his medical costs to the needs of our daily life. We had been wiped out, and our formerly middle class family was left surviving off of my mother's administrative assistant salary, social security, and what my brother and I earned washing dishes in a restaurant.

When I ran for Congress in 2008, I met a grandmother in Hampton County, South Carolina. She was supposed to be retired, but had to go back to work to support her daughter, who lost her job and health insurance because her son got sick and she had to miss work. Like many Americans, they were just one layoff, illness, or accident away from losing everything.

Maybe it's unreasonable to expect Congressman Wilson to stand up to the big insurance companies who have funded his campaigns. Wilson has received $400,000 from the health care industry and their lobbyists. No wonder he's opposed to making the health insurance companies accountable to us.

The stakes in this debate couldn't be higher for millions of middle class families. They deserve a serious and civil discussion of health insurance reform. Congressman Wilson doesn't want one. Help me send new leadership to Washington and give South Carolina the voice it deserves.