Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

November 27th, 2013 10:43 PM

Grateful to Be Alive for the Fight for Health Care Justice

Single Payer health care, SiCKO, Medicare for all, health reform

But for the grace of God, there go I. I am a member of the bankrupt-for-health-care-club in America, but I am not among the dead. I am grateful to be here for another Thanksgiving to keep up the fight for health care justice in my home state of Colorado and in the United States.

I am grateful for Michael Moore's efforts to make SiCKO in 2007 and tell the stories of people like me and my SiCKO family, Reggie, John, Billy, Julie and Tracy, Jr., Lee, Adrian and Aurora, Andy, Dawnelle and Mychelle, and all the others who shared their experience, strength and hope in that film.

My gratitude is hard to measure for the people who embraced us after the film was released -- the nurses of the California Nurses Association, the doctors of Physicians for a National Health Program, Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America, Congressman John Conyers and his staff, Hilda and Koko Sarkisyan, Wendell Potter, Marilyn Clement and Healthcare-NOW, Media Benjamin and Code Pink, and so many others who had nothing to gain by helping lift me and Larry out of our darkest times. Later on down the road, I met more nurses from Australia (New South Wales and Queensland) who have helped us so much and cared enough to reach across an ocean to do so.

And believe it or not, I am grateful for my cancer and the lessons it has taught me and is teaching me still. If not for the cancer and the bankruptcy struggle, I would not know enough to speak with credibility about the suffering of those people in my nation who need improved and expanded Medicare for all for life more now than ever. My struggles are my strength and my growth. I embrace them -- though I admit a little less struggle is always welcome too.

My family knows how important they all are to me. This year, I left a job I loved and was gratified doing to return to Colorado where I could be closer to family and work to achieve single-payer reforms on the state level. And here in Colorado, I want more than anything to have no other Coloradans die or go bankrupt because of the health care system's dysfunction. Health Care for All Colorado has my passion and my energy now and until we achieve health care as a human right and public good. We could use your financial support now more than ever.

This Thanksgiving, my heart and soul wish you the richness of experience I have had along with good people around you to help you through -- perhaps the measure of all the help and support I have had was in universal proportion to the struggles somehow -- so I wish you enough support and help to keep you whole.

Happy Thanksgiving, and until we get true health care justice, I fight on with you by my side.

______________________________

November 27, 2013 -- Today's count of the health care dead and broke for profit in the U.S.:

The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-
industrial -complex system dead: 41,110
The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system bankrupt: 649,830

** These figures are calculated based on the Harvard University studies on excess deaths in the U.S. due to lack of insurance coverage or the ability to pay for needed health care, and the Harvard University study that calculated the high percentage of personal bankruptcies attributable to medical crisis and debt in the U.S. 123 people die daily due to lack of coverage or cash to pay for care; 1,978 go bankrupt every day due to medical crisis and debt though the majority had insurance at the time their illness or injury occurred. This statistic is also based on the 1.2 million bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and calculating those medically-related bankruptcies from that number.http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org/endorse_right_to_health_care

Follow Donna "American SiCKO" Smith's blog at: http://donnasicko.blogspot.com/

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