Thursday, October 4, 2007 3:00 PM

While Congress Breaks for Holidays, 2,300 More Sick Americans Will Die

By Donna Smith, American SiCKO

DENVER – Disgusting. That’s all I could think as I watched today in early October as Republican Congressman Roy Blunt and Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer planned to recess the U.S. House of Representatives by Nov. 16, with the goal to stay recessed until well after Christmas. Wow, nice work if you can get it.

But what really is horrifying is that as our members of Congress adjourn this session, they will leave millions of Americans in peril. These Americans are not unknown to them – they are those who are uninsured and under-insured for health care needs. And between November 16, 2007, and January 1, 2008, more than 2,300 more of these Americans will die because they didn’t have adequate health care.

All members of Congress will fill their bellies on Thanksgiving Day secure in the knowledge that if they become ill while out on recess, they will be well cared for. And as the Hanukkah season, Christmas, Kwanzaa and other religious celebrations approach, these same members of Congress will rest safely in that assurance as they pray for peace on earth.

But what will those weeks and months be like for the uninsured and the under-insured who are ill? Those weeks will be filled with anything but peace and security. There will be illnesses and injuries that will go untreated and undiagnosed – and some will become fatal. Coughing, fevers, seizures, depression, tumors, strokes, heart and chest pain, ear aches, rashes, vomiting, crying out for help that never comes – that will be quite a nice holiday season, don’t you think?

Unpaid medical bills and debt collectors calling – mortgages going unpaid and boxes being packed in anticipation of the eviction notices. That’s what fear and want is like, ladies and gentlemen of Congress.

It isn’t as if members of Congress haven’t had time to work on the health care crisis. It didn’t exactly sneak up on us all. They have failed to act for a very long time. They are selfish and incapable of empathizing with the people they are charged to represent.

I am ashamed of this Congress. They are not working hard to address the needs of the American people. And they aren’t even acting as though they are aware we elected them. We gave them the right to adjourn for a nice, happy holiday season. And they took us up on that. They just never heard our other demands. They weren’t listening.

Send your members of Congress a greeting card and remind them of the death toll during their recess. Maybe, just maybe, they'll return ready to seriously consider HR676, Medicare for All. Better yet, maybe they'll call Rep. John Conyers' office before they leave and ask to co-sponsor. That would be a gift to us all.

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