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Murray Tells Story of Young Boy from Washington State at Bipartisan White House Health Care Summit

Feb 25 2010

Murray used the story of Marcelas Owens as example of why we need to move quickly to reform the broken health care system

WATCH Senator Murray at the White House Summit

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) attended the White House Health Care Summit and shared a story that was told to her by a young Washington state resident named Marcelas Owens to demonstrate why health insurance reform is so critical to families across the country. Murray met 10 year old Marcelas in June of last year in Seattle, and he told her that two years earlier his mother got sick, lost her job, lost her health insurance, and then lost her life. Murray used Marcelas as an example as to why it is time to move forward with reform for the thousands of Washington families and business owners who have shared their stories with her.

Murray has previously spoken about Marcelas Owens on the floor of the United States Senate.

Senator Murray’s remarks today:

“Mr. President, thank you, and this has been I think a very good discussion. And I think all of us come to this table today having heard a lot of stories and talked to a lot of people and bring their passions with us today. And I certainly am one of those.

“Every time we talk about this, every time I think about this, I remember a little boy who I met last spring, who was 11 years old, whose name is Marcelas. And he told me that his mom, single mom, taking care of him and his two younger sisters, was going to work every day, had a job managing a fast-food restaurant, was doing OK, but she got sick. And when she got sick, she had to take time off from work. And because she was missing so much work, she lost her job. When she lost her job, she lost her health care. And because she lost her health care, she couldn't get in to see a doctor. And sadly, Marcelas’ mom died.

“I think about him every time we talk about this bill. And what happened to her is happening to so many Americans who when they get sick today don't have any choices. They have nowhere to go. Either they don't have insurance or they've been denied insurance because they don't have -- because they have a preexisting condition or they're a small business whose premiums have gone up so dramatically that they can no longer afford to provide it for their employees.

“Too many Americans today are in a box and they don't have a choice. Frankly, it's why so many Americans today are passionate about a public option. It was a choice for them that they felt was important to them.

“But in the bill that you have presented and that we have been working on, that is so important, is it finally gets some people out of that box of no choices by giving them an exchange that they can go to, by taking care of the insurance reforms so they're not denied coverage, by opening up community health centers so people have choices, by making sure that we lower the cost for all Americans because when we provide coverage for 30 million Americans, it lowers the cost of everyone who has insurance today by $1,000 a year a family.

“This is why this is so important. And what I have listened for today is whether the alternative proposal that has come before us gives people those choices that they need. And that's what I'm listening for and I go back to Marcelas and I think, will that proposal make sure that nobody loses their mom again because they didn't have a choice?

“And that's why it's so important that we move forward with what we have and open that door for so many Americans. “