We received a mailbox response from the Angela who is featured in “Angela’s Story,” one of the Organizing for America videos. Organizing for America is the  successor organization of Obama for America. It’s an important response and I want to quote it in full:

I am the woman in the video “Angela’s Story” and I’d like to respond to your comments about my story. First I wasn’t laid off from my job and didn’t say that I was. I had to leave my job because of the advancement of my Parkinson’s. As I state in the video, I was diagnosed with PD ten years ago. More than 70% of individuals diagnosed with PD have to retire within three years of diagnosis.

To your question – didn’t I save any money – well yes, I did, but this was the second time I had to leave a job because of my illness. The first time I was unable to work for approximately 18 months and depleted my savings at that time.

Your statement “Surely you could afford COBRA” leads me to believe that you don’t know much about how COBRA works. My monthly payment for COBRA was $660 per month; COBRA isn’t free, it only offers the option of staying on the health care plan one was in at their place of employment, but only if they pay the entire premium.

As to your rhetorical question, well I suppose you could make the case that I was “improvident” since I didn’t save enough to pay for my living expenses, including health care, for the length of time it takes to be approved for SSI (my money by the way) which is about one year, during the eight months I was back at work.

I certainly do not expect the taxpayers (of which I am one) to “bail me out” which is probably stupid on my part. I would be better off financially if I went completely on entitlement programs. But I do not collect anything from the other taxpayers. And that isn’t the point of this anyway, we are discussing the exorbitant cost of health care, not welfare.

I wonder why it is when we hear a person is struggling that we immediately point the finger at them, searching for a way to blame them for the situation they are in. Perhaps it’s time to shine the interrogation lights at the insurance companies who profit, and profit hugely, on the backs of those of us who are struggling just to stay afloat


First, I’m sorry I said you’d been laid off when you actually quit your job because of your health. And, second, I’d like to say that we should have a better health-insurance system for people like you. We should be focusing on solving problems for people like you instead of promoting a government take-over of health care. Obviously, one problem is that your health insurance was tied to your employment status.  You didn’t lose your life insurance or car insurance—you lost your health insurance.

Yes, you got a raw deal. We should have a better system for people like you — but the answer isn’t a trillion dollar healthcare bill and a total upending of one sixth of our economy. If our senators and congressmen and women were talking about folks like you instead of  whether to include acupuncture in the bill, we might be on the way to health-care reform.