Two weeks ago, I was in Washington, DC with the Better Health team, listening to people talk about voting down government health care.
Last week, I was in Chicago at BlogHer, part of a lunch meeting with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison, listening to women at BlogHer talk about passing the government health care bill.
And I have now just entered the land of confusion.
Valerie Jarrett spoke with a room full of bloggers about health care, but she also listened. She listened while women told their personal stories and she seemed to understand that health care situations aren’t as simple to solve as we’d like them to be. Women candidly told their stories and a few tears even slipped out. But she listened intently. And she said she wanted to give a voice to those who might not speak up for themselves.
“Often the people who need it the most don’t speak up because they don’t feel like they have a voice. Give the grass roots a voice, empower them, work together informing people within their communities. You can work to help them get their voice, get info that they don’t have.”
This lady is important. Her cell phone rang several times during our lunch (it could have been THE PRESIDENT, for crying out loud) and she had her assistant take the call so she could focus on us. She handed out her card and scheduled phone calls between some bloggers and her staff to help with the specific health issues that these bloggers were dealing with. Sure, for them it was a matter of being in the right time at the right place, but she really listened. I’ve never sat in a room before with a member of high political influence who paid attention to the people more than the information on her cell phone or in her planner. (Maybe that means I’ve been in the room with the wrong politicians?)
It was a remarkable experience, and the room was electric with hope.
And now I’m even more confused about this health care issue. I want insurance coverage, I want good coverage, but I don’t want to be excluded due to my pre-existing condition. I can’t find a happy mental medium with this, but I know there has to be a way for people like me to find health coverage despite diabetes.
With that thought, I’m off to the Joslin Clinic in Boston, with my pregnant best friend in tow, to immerse myself in the best that health care has to offer. And I hope that whatever decision made by our government leaves me with access to the people I need to help manage my care.
*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*