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Organizing for America: Health Care (Fall 2009 Article)

One of the biggest issues that Americans face today—Health
Care— has been dominating headline news for months. Every
news source seems to project a different perspective,
perpetuating a variety of opinions on health care. There is
always at least one unhappy voice for different reasons. Insurance
companies and medical professionals express fear
at the thought of the precarious results of a Health Care Bill.
Conservatives feel that the bill is too radical in concept, while
others feel that it is not radical enough. However, there is
no denying that the American people need a resolution of
today’s health care problem since it has become inadequate
to the needs of the people, as is evidenced by many public
outcries.
President Obama has called the health care system in this
country a “broken system” where people do not receive sufficient
care and are often afraid of going to the doctor, are
still paying for their last appointment months later, and are
receiving low quality health care services. Statistics have
shown that over 46 million Americans are without health
care insurance, while many who have it are not benefiting
much from it due to high costs of deductibles and premiums.
I learned a great deal about this issue this summer
when I worked as a Summer Organizer with Organizing for
America, a grassroots movement organization which serves
to facilitate policies of the President by providing the average
American with information and a chance to better communicate
with the President.
The success of Obama’s campaign was in large part due
to the grassroots movement and millions of volunteers who
dedicated their time and efforts. Obama wanted to continue
this grassroots movement after he was elected in order to
better inform and communicate with the American people. I
took this internship because I know that the goal of winning
the election was only the beginning of our journey. We all
have to work towards recovery and reform with our president.
With about 10 other peers, I began my internship (or, more accurately, full-time volunteer experience). From June to August, I worked in and out of the State Democratic Party in Atlanta, although I mainly worked with Georgians in Gwinnett and Hall County. Before this experience, I never fully comprehended the word “grassroots” and how hands-on, tightly knitted everything was. I had to organize many local events such as canvasses, phone banks, public place events, and weekly group meetings to keep the movement going and the momentum flowing. For the first time since the election, I was constantly tuned in to news and various new sources in the country—reading the opinions of different groups of people. I came to slowly understand how different areas of politics work together while still remaining interdependent.
I read countless stories written by people about how harsh and
unfair their situations were, often caused
by situations out of their control. I talked with many people
and heard their tragic stories whether it’d be about themselves,
their family members, or friends. Seniors were not
receiving proper medication and thus suffered in pain while
their children struggled to take care of them. Working people
were dealing with inadequate healthcare and an insurmountable
bill. Parents were watching their children complain of
pain which they could do nothing about. It then occurred to
me that what I was doing was important, and that this bureaucratic
system of communication was working. This was
not about some issue that was far away from my concern,
discussed by distant politicians on TV. This was a real issue
happening in my own community. I walked in the hot
sun on many weekends, knocking door-to-door with other
dedicated volunteers to educate people on the progress in
Washington, trying to persuade them to join us in securing a
better future for themselves and their children. I made copies
of flyers, passed out brochures, sent documents, and
spent nights working until 9 PM almost every day. Being so
active brought me into contact with many different people
and many different opinions on the issue of health care, a
political issue that is not likely to die down for a long time to
come.
– Shirley Yang

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