Yarrow and other wildflowers grow near where we scattered Mike's ashes. It's an incredibly beautiful spot. I was feeling so sad and tired today after the activism of the last few weeks. The sermon at church was the story from Mark of the synogogue official whose daughter was dying. He grabs Jesus and implores him to come heal his daughter. He was desperate.
But on the way, a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years, unclean, powerless, marginalized, has the audacity to touch Jesus' cloak. He feels the energy leave his body and asks who touched him
The father has no patience for this. His child is dying. But Jesus isn't to be rushed. He tells the woman her faith has healed her.
Meanwhile, the little girl has died. Jesus arrives at the house and sends everyone but her parents out and tells them she's just sleeping. He tells her to get up, and she does.
I identify with both these people: the powerless, destitute woman and the powerful parent who is about to lose the one thing most precious to him.
I know I would have died gladly to save Michael, but I didn't have that option. I know powerless; I know desperation.
I still feel it as I try to advocate for health care for all.
I built a cairn next to the flaming azalea bush where Mike is. After church, Rob and I went to the place where we scattered Michael's ashes. I was amazed to see a flaming azaela bush. I didn't know that in April. It made me laugh because Mike used to call himself a flaming asshole.
The flaming azalea is surrounded by blueberry bushes -- Mike's favorite.
WNC for Change sponsored a health care rally this morning in Pritchard Park, where we had our rally last fall. We drew about 175 people then; 300 came out today. It was amazing.
I was the keynote speaker, so I got to tell Mike's story. I asked people to visit our site and leave a story and to call and/or write their legislators to tell them we need this fixed NOW.
Later in the afternoon, Rep. Heath Shuler met with us and heard our concerns. About 50 people attended that.
Thanks to Paul Choi, director of WNC for Change for all his hard work. I know how difficult it is to organize one of these and was happy to have someone else do it for a change.
There's a big photo gallery up at the Citizen-Times. I'll get some photos up on this site when I've had a little rest. It's been a long, tiring day, and it has made me miss Mike terribly.
I went to a WNC Health Partners session on advocacy tonight and the most important word I heard was "flexible."
One man spoke about how we can't settle for anything less than a single-payer system.
I spoke up and told him we did all-or-nothing last time and got nothing. This time, we have to listen, and we have to be able to accept a solution that gets everyone access to quality health care, whether it's single-payer or not.
We have to be flexible.
We're having two letter-writing parties tomorrow -- one at the Unitarian-Universalist Church from 11 to noon and one at the Ethical Culture Society of Asheville at 3 to 4.
I'm excited about this because it gives people a chance to write and tell their legislators that they want reform AND tell them what they think is the best way to go about it.
We don't tell anyone what to write, nor do we read the letters. We just want people to participate in this democracy before it's too late to make a difference.
I also get to tell people not to close their minds to any solution. I know what I think will work best (unadulterated, un-watered-down public plan) but I won't assume it's the only way.
However, I will keep pushing for meaningful reform until every American has access to decent health care. My benchmark is whether it would have gotten Mike the help he needed when he needed it.
The doctors who neglected him and turned him away deserve to be disciplined, but that hasn't happened because not treating him -- not even telling him he had a life-threatening problem (a fully blocked colon) so he could seek treatment somewhere a little more compassionate, isn't against the law. Apparently, it wasn't even against ethical codes at Memorial Health System in Savannah.
I am VERY passionate about getting it done, though. So, use the tool on the main page of this site and write to your legislators. Tell them enough people have died.
Um, excuse me.
I just have a question: If taxpayers can dole out $1 trillion to pay for bailouts for Wall Street, then spend billions more to help American automakers to stay in business, in a single year, why is $1 trillion over 10 years too much to spend to reform health care and save 30,000 human lives a year?
The health care industry is firing up its engines to fight health care reform.
According to economist and former US Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, The five largest private insurance companies and their trade group America's Health Insurance Plans spent a total of $6.4 million on lobbying in the first quarter of this year, up more than $1 million from the first quarter last year, they're ready to spend even more.
Read Reich's entire blog entry here: robertreich.blogspot.com/2009/06/healthcare-war-is-now-official.html
It's going to take some real muscle to fight them, but we have to do it.