He Had Worked Hard Since He Was 12

Dear Speaker Boehner:

My husband died in 2003 due to lack of care for diabetes and cancer after we lost our health insurance. There were times we couldn’t get insulin and no churches or private agencies could help either. We lost our home, our business and eventually him, because the only jobs I could get didn’t offer health insurance, but I made too much for him to qualify for Medicaid.

We finally had to separate and he move to another state that had better Medicaid, but the damage of not having had care had already taken it’s toll. He lost a leg the year before dying, and was in misery for 8 years while dying. He didn’t deserve this. He had worked HARD since he was 12, as have I.

I only recently qualified for medicare having gone for 12 years with no care due to a lack of insurance. I have chronic illnesses that will cut my life short, but even worse, I will not be productive during this time, whereas had I gotten care when I needed it, I would still be working today. We who need health reform and insurance are not lazy. We just don’t come from the same world you do…white, privileged male.

Portland, OR

This letter is part of the “Will You Cry for Me, John Boehner?” campaign. We will deliver hundreds of stories like this to Speaker of the House John Boehner. We ask everyone to share your story or sign on to this letter to the Speaker.


  1. Ereka Watson on January 27, 2011 at 1:31 am

    I was diagnosed with epilepsy due to a head injury. I have applies over and over agin for disability after i lost my job for having a seizure at work. I have been told by my doctors to apply for disability, I am 38 years old, I have been working since i was 16. do you want me to die of my disorder? like many others? people without health insurance are dying every day because of pre existing conditions that insurance companies are raising premiums higher than we can afford. I tell you what Politicians should work for minimum wage with no health insurance, then tell the people what they think we need. I WILL die of my disorder, my seizures WILL kill . I WILL have a heart attack from them or starve waiting for the Fed govt to relieve me of the fiscal strains. I am not the only case of non medicated epileptics out there. If you dont wat to help, you can answer to the god you beleive in after you pass. ~Ereka

  2. Kery on January 27, 2011 at 6:56 am

    And that is sexist racism right there. This letter might have made a point, someday. But with that last part added, people who *are* in the right place are going to read it, see the insult and will use that as an excuse not to pay attention to it.

    You might not like it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.

    • Cherie on November 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

      I agree. The sex/race thing should surely be left out. This is a problem for people of all sexes and races. There are so many of us out here flying with out a net that it doesn’t matter what color you are or what’s between your legs. We’re all in the same soup and we need help. Things must change. God as I believe in Him never meant for anyone to get rich off misfortune or illness. This and the factory farm industry are two conglomerates that do just that.

  3. Jared on January 27, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I’m from Portland. Considering Portland offers the Oregon Health Plan, along with medicaid and medicare. Along with the fact that Diabetes can be controlled with diet. Insulin costs about 20-30 dollars per vial which means it’s about 60$ a month. If your husband could afford to move to another state for better medicaid he could have afforded the Insulin.

    • Stu on April 24, 2011 at 5:29 am

      Obviously at the time it sounds like he didn’t qualify for medicare and they were above the poverty line for medicaid… And the long term cost for insulin and medication far exceeds a one trip ticket somewhere… I”m from Washington and right now our basic health plan has been stripped and thousands are now without any protection… I”m sure Portland will also lose there basic plan because of budget cuts..

    • Trish on July 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Im not sure where the previous poster got his figures for insulin being 30 dollars a vial. I work for a private non profit free health center and insulin is 100-115 dollars a vial and that has 1000units in it if someone is taking 100 units a day that will only last 10 days. Please if you are going to try to make an argument get your facts and figures straight.

      • Trish on July 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        Just an added bonus………. As a nurse I am here to tell you that NO not all diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise. It can certainly help though.

  4. Nina Gregory on January 27, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I know that the common average American citizen is not among your constituency, and that this will no doubt fall on deaf ears, but I have some time to kill today so here goes. Speaking of killing, I must complement the fabulous job you are doing in killing off the voters in your district. I will be fascinated to discover how many of them will not be eligible to vote in the next election due to the fact that they died for lack of affordable health care. The last time I checked, it was the average citizen who heads to the voting booth and not the corporations. I know that deep down in your kindhearted soul you would desperately love to change that fact, but until something changes that’s the way things stand. So good job, Speaker Boehner, you are killing off the people who may or may not vote for you in the next election. I know our lives don’t matter much to you right now, but come election day you just might look around and wonder why on earth more folks aren’t around to vote your sorry behind back into office. Here’s hoping that’s a day that rolls around within my lifetime.

  5. George Lovelace on January 27, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I am fortunate, I still have insurance, I am a white male. But many fellow diabetics, white and black, male and female, have been excluded from getting coverage no matter if they could afford it or not. Don’t let my friends die!

  6. White Priviledged Male on January 27, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I like how you blame it on men like myself. While I am white and male, I am certainly not priviledged. Your message was lost in your vitrolic trolling at the end.

  7. bigbadjohn on January 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I am so sorry to hear a story like this but it seems all too common these days. The Republicans talk of Obama’s death panels. Well we already have death panels. They look at the age and possible outcome of treatment and decide who is worth it and who isnt. My wife had to go on extended leave of absence from her job to have back surgery. While she was recovering from that it was discovered that she needed total knee replacement (her bad back was hiding her bad knee). While she was recovering from knee replacement she was fired from her job, and her insurance stops at the end of this month. If everyone in this country who has had trouble with an insurance company would rise up maybe we would have universal health care. Is that what it will take?

  8. Leanor on January 30, 2011 at 12:45 am


    If you are white and male in America today, you most certainly do enjoy white privilege and male privilege.

    I agree the main issue in terms of health care is one economics though non-whites continue to suffer greater disparities even in the realm of health care.

    • Cheryl on March 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      My husband, a (white) type 1 diabetic, had to cancel his insurance this January when his monthly premiums topped $1,500. For 25 years, he has run a small masonry company, providing jobs for as many as half a dozen men at a time. He is the hardest worker I know, yet the downturn in the homebuilding industry left him with premiums that took more than half of his monthly income…and we are still paying $760 a month for health insurance for my two daughters and myself. For the last two years, his premiums were $1,420 a month, and we dug into our savings to pay those…..where do we go from here?

  9. Mary on January 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

    It’s unthinkable that we have any of these storyes in this country in this day and age isn’t it.The problem here is and wil remain that the people of this country are fogged by false information that they have something called healt care.This system they have is operated by greed and only the chosen once have access.Universal Socialist what ever the name,is health care for all and with that people have equal car,not to mention without the worry og financial devistation.This system is here is discusting.This goverment has no idea,or no intenions of taking care of there own.It’s the very people here in this country that go without while they waste Taxpayer money as they so please.

  10. Appaled by health care system on February 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I was told by the doctors office that I had to come in with one problem at a time. My bill goes up for more than one problem. I feel like I am a car being repaired. This is ridiculous.