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An open letter to Rep. Kosmas

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By Jerry Waxman

 As submitted to The Huffington Post

Dear Rep. Kosmas,

I am writing to you, as a constituent who worked for your election last year, to urge you to support the current Senate Health Care bill now being considered in the House of Representatives. While this bill is far from perfect it will ease the real problems of millions of Americans who cannot afford to see a doctor and whose lives and health are in real jeopardy because they are either not insured or underinsured.

I’ve been covering the Health Care debates for the Huffington Post for over a year now and I have been collecting individual stories from strangers as well as my own friends and family members, many of them your constituents that would break your heart. I would like to share some of them with you:

Bill Doherty is 41 years old. He is the Artistic Director of the Central Florida Lyric Opera and he does an amazing job given the lack of funding available to him. His productions, for their size and scope, are superb and he has been recognized by the White House for his contributions to the art form. He’s a great vocal coach and one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met. Several of his students have gone on to fame on Broadway as well as in professional opera. At the moment he is reduced to playing piano in a restaurant at night to eke out a living. His house and studio were in jeopardy of being foreclosed on and that still could happen. Bill suffers from Diabetes and he is uninsurable under the current system. He has to pay for his medications out of pocket and if there is a medical emergency it could mitigate a disaster. Several months ago Bill had to go to Winter Park Hospital to have a boil on his neck treated. By the time he received his bill it was over $1400.00 and he was hard pressed to pay it. Just imagine if he had something really serious happen. He would be out on the street with nothing in addition to still needing insulin and other medications. Bill was a stranger to me in October 2009. Today I consider him a close friend. He owes me considerable money for work I did for him and I know he can’t pay right now. I’m not going to let that stand in the way of our friendship, and I want him to get back on top. He deserves it. The only thing I can do for him right now is to advocate for everyone in his position and ask you to help him get the proper health care he deserves.

Sara Grimes wears a support belt around her waist 24 hours a day. She can’t walk without it. She was the victim of three traffic accidents back in 2004 and her case has never been handled properly in all these years. At the time of her accidents Sara was an employee of the State, and her second accident was caused by a state vehicle. That set off a string of events that cost Sara her job and benefits. She has hired an attorney to untangle the web of events that have left her jobless and almost a cripple, however in the ensuing years her condition has worsened and she can’t get proper treatment. Several specialists have refused to see her because she is not insured, and they say they will not accept cash which she has offered them on numerous occasions. Under separate cover I am enclosing a letter which she wrote to me describing her plight. Meanwhile, she is a bright capable person who is prevented from being productive because of the system. She should be out dancing instead of facing life in a wheelchair. When she’s able to she does come to the rallies to urge you and our other lawmakers to make affordable health care possible to all. I cannot imagine her despair and I feel for her. You can help her.

My daughter, Julie, decided several years ago to go back to college and get her degree. To her credit she graduated with honors. Along that journey she met the right man in her life and today they have a beautiful daughter, Jillian, who is now almost three years old. My son-in-law is diabetic so there’s no insurance for them. He’s also a student so Julie is working two jobs to make ends meet. Jillian is covered by Medicaid, but if her parents have any serious medical problems or emergencies they are ill-prepared to deal with them. I want my children and grandchildren to lead healthy, productive lives as well so that they can make their contributions to society.

These are not isolated incidents. They occur every day and in every neighborhood and in every family to some degree. You have the power to change their lives for the better. Within the past year there have been factions arising that have a totally different view of the role of government. I’ve interviewed these people and I can tell you from personal experience they have no credible or cohesive argument. They did not vote for change in 2008, nor would they ever give any progressive initiatives any thought. They are loud, but they are a definite minority and you need to remember that. They would actually deny themselves things that would benefit their own families. Therefore, I respectfully urge you to vote yes for the pending Health Care bill as well as asking Speaker Pelosi to include the Public Option which Senator Bill Nelson has now agreed to support. We’ll all be better off, and you can feel the sense of satisfaction that the country is finally moving in a positive direction. Thank you for all the positive things you do for your constituents.

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