Michelle Obama Tells Reverend Al Sharpton No One Should Have to Choose Between Rent and Medicine

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    (Washington, DC – December 19, 2013) – Today on Reverend Al Sharpton’s nationally syndicated radio program, Keeping it Real with Reverend Al Sharpton, he spoke with the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.  She brought her message of the importance of American’s taking part in the Affordable Care Act to Sharpton’s audience, beginning with a personal story about her daughter Sasha.

    Obama passionately expressed why she believes everyone needs to take part in the Affordable Care Act plan stating, “We shouldn’t live in a country this rich where people are choosing between their rent or their medicine.”

    Read the full transcript below and listen to Keeping it Real with Reverend Al Sharpton weekdays on local radio stations.


    MICHELLE OBAMA:  Reverend Al, how are you?

    AL SHARPTON:  Good, how are you?  And happy to have you with us today.

    MICHELLE OBAMBA:  I’m doing great.

    AL SHARPTON:  How are you?

    MICHELLE OBAMA:  I’m happy to be here.  I’m doing great.  You know the sun is shining, it’s a little chilly, but it’s Christmas time.

    AL SHARPTON:  Yeah, well I am a witness.  It’s a little chilly up down here.  I’ll see you later tonight.

    MICHELLE OBAMA:  Yes, indeed.  I’m looking forward to it.

    AL SHARPTON:  I want to get into this, because this is such an important message that you’re giving.  And what really was striking to me is that you got very personal.  You talked about twelve years ago with Sasha.  Tell us about that.

    MICHELLE OBAMA:  Yeah.  When Sasha was about four months old, you know, we were blessed with healthy babies, I had a healthy pregnancy, you know, Malia was, you know, issue free.  But I will never forget, it was a day when, you know, one hour she was fine, she was normal, she was happy, doing everything I was used to her doing, and the next hour she was crying inconsolably.  And that just wasn’t like her.  And I did everything I tried to do, I tried to feed her, I tried to walk her, I tried to burp her.  Finally I just thought I need to call my pediatrician.  That’s the first point that I want to make is that we had health insurance, which meant I had a really good relationship with our pediatrician.  So he knew me.  And he knew I wasn’t the kind of mother to call up just because my baby was crying.

    AL SHARPTON:  Right.

    MICHELLE OBAMA:  So when I described the symptoms, you know the fact that she had a slight fever, but she seemed to be in pain in a way that I had never seen in a baby.  He said; get her to the emergency room, I don’t like the sounds of it.  Just go.  Do not pass go, just get to the emergency room; and as it turns out she had meningitis; and they had to do a spinal tap.  She turned out, obviously, as the story ends, she is fine, she’s healthy, she’s a beautiful young lady.  But if we hadn’t had insurance and access to a pediatrician and access to a hospital where we didn’t have to worry about the cost of care, if we had waited overnight, if we had postponed acting there’s no telling what the outcome would’ve been.

    And that’s why for me, as a mother, I am just, you know, I just can’t put into words how important it is for every American, for every mother, for every person in this country, to have healthcare.  Because you just never know what kind of curveballs life are going to throw you.  You know?

    And there will always be a curveball.  But it shouldn’t be a curveball that lands you in the hospital and bankrupt.  But before Obamacare, that’s how, that’s was the reason for the vast majority of bankruptcy filings in this country because people were losing their homes because of these uncovered medical costs; hundreds of thousands of dollars for people who had gall bladder surgery, or an infant born premature, or you know, an unexpected diagnosis of cancer.  And now that we have the Affordable Care Act where people have access to affordable insurance, we need people to sign up for that.  And that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about it.  You know, people deserve that kind of peace of mind that insurance provides, that we have, as the President and the First Lady of the United States, every American should have that kind of peace of mind.

    AL SHARPTON:  The thing that strikes me is you bring a passion and a perspective to this that is really beyond the partisan bickering we hear in Washington and we hear on talk radio, or cable, and I’m doing both now.  Or in civil rights what I do.  You talk as a mother and you talk as someone who said I’ve been there and I know what ordinary Americans are facing.  And this is why they need to deal with this.

    MICHELLE OBAMA:  Yeah.  And we, Barack and I just met with a group of mothers, because we’re talking to mothers.  Mothers are the ones who make the decisions about healthcare in their families.  They’re the ones dealing with sickness on a regular basis.  They’re the ones who have the ear to their kids, to their teenagers, their young adults who think they’re invincible and don’t need insurance.  We’re talking to them because they’re the ones with the stories, just like me, in a roomful of women who, you know, had young people with cancer that they never imagined.  You know?  Sons and daughter who are working part time jobs don’t have insurance, but you know, running across these curveballs that I talked about.

    And they tell their stories with tears in their eyes, you know, that until this Act was passed – there was one mother who said she cried herself to sleep every night because her son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his early twenties.  And she didn’t know how she was going to pay for it.  So she was praying every night that the Act wouldn’t be repealed.  You know, so that’s the kind of personal, you know, story that’s often missed in that back and forth that turns this issue, which is a pretty plain and simple issue, Reverend Al.  This is about getting people healthcare who didn’t have it, and can’t afford it; and now we have Obamacare, and it’s affordable.

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