THE BLOG
10/18/2013 06:48 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Healthcare and Financial Disaster: We All Know Someone, Even the President

"Today I am signing this reform bill into law on behalf of my mother, who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days." -President Barack Obama

Many many Americans have known and still do know people who have become fragile economically because they fell ill. They may have had health insurance, but somehow, it simply did not cover all the costs and the costs grew. The cancer that President Obama's mother died from ended up costing hundreds more per month than her insurance would cover. Even though she was dying from a cancer which only women suffer from, she had to remind her insurance company that she was a woman, because her name was "Stanley" Ann Dunham.

I sincerely believe that every American knows someone, or someone who knows someone, who has hit the wall of financial impossibility in paying for the baby who is born with complications, spends months in intensive care, and still dies; for the parent who lingers with multiple health problems which simply become overwhelming; the spouse who has worked hard all his or her life yet worries he or she will lose the house as the basics are simply unaffordable. Those who were refused coverage because of pre-existing conditions, so many people, like the recent graduate who can no longer afford insurance, all of these people will now be able to find a way to not be frightened to death that they will go bankrupt, that their families will suffer financially because they fall ill. This is normal. This is sane to have such health care. People should not have to spend their last days worrying about health care costs. We are a civilized nation and now we are beginning to act like one.

Today Mother Jones published a piece entitled, "No, You Can't Just Go to the Emergency Room Unless You Want to Go Broke." And I suggest that everyone read it. This is the reality, which, until Obamacare, we as a country accepted and which damaged so many people, so many families for way too long.

As I researched and wrote about the president's late mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, for the feature documentary I am making about her inspiring life, I was touched by how so many policy decisions the president has made are directly linked to her. As he stated when he received the Nobel Peace Prize, "To the extent to which I am deserving this esteemed prize, now or in the future, it will be largely because of her and the largeness of her heart." Thank you, Mr. President, for health care for Americans. And thank you Ann Dunham, for instilling in your son, true compassion and caring for all.

Visit the site and see the teaser for "Obama Mama" here.

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