fresh voices from the front lines of change







Health care saves lives, and real stories about this are pouring out at Town Hall meetings across the country. Ed Weberman, from White Lake, Michigan, explains how the Affordable Care Act saved his son’s life, and how it inspired him to fight for others.

Ed Weberman at Town Hall meeting with Rep. Keith Ellison in Washington, DC

The Affordable Care Act is a matter or life or death for our family. After being rushed to the emergency room two years ago, my son was diagnosed with lymphoma. He was 22. Because of the ACA, he had insurance and got treatment, which saved his life.

On November 9, my wife and I woke up and said, “Okay, what now?” We’d always been informed, but not active. I wasn’t out attending meetings and speaking up. I left that to someone else.

The election changed everything. We poked around and found the Michigan People’s Campaign, which gave me the venue, opportunity, and support to get my voice heard.

I started attending meetings and speaking up. My son also started speaking up. We all believe, now more than ever, that health care is a human right.

Our Congressman, Rep. Dave Trott, is a lawyer who made a lot of money in foreclosures. If you got foreclosed on, the first thing you got was a letter from his law firm. A lot of these people fell behind on home payments because of medical debt.

He refused to meet with us at the Michigan People’s Campaign, so we went out to his office on a regular basis, made calls. We finally got a meeting with one of his local staff and asked for a meeting with Trott in DC. All we got was the runaround.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Trott held a town hall in a small facility. I spoke very loudly to get his attention and made him look at me. I wanted to tell my story, and I made him listen.

Then I said, “Congressman, yes or no, I need you to confirm that there should be coverage for all and health care is a human right.” He said, “Yes, of course, yes.” Then I said, “I want to meet with you,” and he had to answer. He said, “ I’m going back to Washington. How about Tuesday?”

I went to DC. the week they were supposed to vote on health care repeal. Trott had claimed to support people with pre-existing conditions, and I said, “Congressman, there’s no way you can say pre-existing protections stay the same, with no lifetime caps, with this tax cut for wealthy in this bill.”

I said, “Congressman, we’re headed to high-risk pools, aren’t we?” He said we were. “You lied to us,” I told him. “High-risk pools are nothing but a death ghetto.”

Later that week, Speaker Ryan pulled the bill, but I knew they’d be back to repeal our health care. And that’s what the House of Representatives, including Rep. Trott, did on May 4. But that doesn’t mean I’m done fighting. Far from it.

My father was a Holocaust survivor. He taught us that you can’t let these things ever happen again. He gave us the strength to speak up and to survive.

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