05/19/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

People Over Process

The difference between those who support health care reform and those who don't is simple: supporters value people over process.

We supporters realize that choosing life and health is what matters more than anything. We realize that a better health care system beats a broken one. We can see the mountaintop of affordable and accessible health care for every person in our country and know that the climb towards it begins here.

Dear Congress:

Even with the passage of this iteration of reform, there is much work to be done. There is technical and implementation minutia to sort out. However, we must not lose sight of why we have to start reform and start it now.

Every day a little boy like Marcelas Owens has to bury his mother because she had no health insurance, remember that you have the responsibility to fix the broken system.

Every day a woman like Susan Braig is distracted from beating breast cancer because her health insurance company didn't consider paying for her treatments a good investment, remember that you have the responsibility to fix the broken system.

Every day a man like Matt Masterson has his finances destroyed because his son has diabetes, remember that you have the responsibility to fix the broken system.

The opponents care more about politics and process than people. They'd tell a now-deceased woman like Melanie Shouse from St. Louis that she should have been more concerned with "deeming resolutions" and government spending than with getting back on her feet and fighting to make sure others didn't suffer her same fate. They're defending the current broken system that is unaffordable and inaccessible to so many.

Progressive policy begins with people. When we lose sight of that, of the people whose stories move us toward compassion and action, we lose. When we remember each other and our shared challenges and goals, we all benefit. We all win.

For health care, that means delivering on comprehensive reform for the people like Marcelas, Susan, and Matt. They need health care that excludes no one. They need it to be affordable for hard working people. They need their representatives in government to be their advocates in this fight rather than be on the side of health insurance companies.

I have some advice for members of Congress and Senators receiving phone calls this week: if a person mentions a process word (filibuster, reconciliation, deem & pass, ram through, etc.), ignore them. Instead, listen to the people that call in to tell you about their lives. Their stories are what matters. These are the stories that should move you to rightly represent them.

Every district in every state has thousands of stories of people who have been abused and victimized by our deadly, greed-infested health care system. Theirs are the stories that must stiffen the spines of Democrats. Their constituents need health care reform now.