Cross-posted from Go Ask Mom.
I found out the morning of the meeting
that it was very uncommon to have them both in a meeting, and it was
even more rare to have that meeting be in the Oval Office!
waited for the meeting with the president to begin, I got to know the
seven other moms who had been invited to the meeting. Right away, it
became clear why we were all there: Each of us had been touched in some
way by the Affordable Care Act and, as a result, were making efforts to
advocate on behalf of the law.
The Affordable Care Act has made a
major difference for my family. When my son, Ethan, was born in 2006 we
found out within just a few weeks that he needed chemotherapy to fight
off a rare benign tumor. I had to quit working to care for him and, as a
result, we lost our health insurance. We were very fortunate that he
qualified for Medicaid which enabled us to get him the life-saving care
that he needed.
But even after we got Ethan through his illness,
my husband and I were still incredibly worried that he would have to
struggle to get insurance for the rest of his life because of his
pre-existing condition. We are so grateful that the Affordable Care Act
has put that worry to rest.
Because of that, and also because
we've experienced the importance of the Medicaid program, I am working
hard to get the word out about the benefits of the new law to other
families through my work with MomsRising.
My story is one of
thousands of stories that have been sent to MomsRising from members
across the country, and I was honored to not only be able to share my
own story, but also to be able to represent those members in the Oval
Office. It is truly humbling to know that, from the very top, moms are
looked to for leadership on these important issues.
Oval Office, I lined up with all of the other mothers, waiting nervously
for the meeting to begin. The door to the Oval Office suddenly swung
open and I heard a familiar voice exclaim, "Hi moms! Come on in." I
looked up to see the president himself standing there with the first
lady, welcoming the eight of us into the Oval Office all decorated for
In the room, it was just Mr. and Mrs. Obama, senior
advisor Valerie Jarrett, a few White House staffers, and us moms. The
president and first lady welcomed us and thanked us for taking the time
to come and meet with them. Then Mrs. Obama shared a personal story of
her own about when one of her daughters fell ill as a baby and how
grateful she was to have access to quality, affordable healthcare at the
The president and first lady both emphasized how important
they felt it was for people to share their stories and expressed how
grateful they were that we'd come in person to share ours.
"Why don't we start with you, Felicia, and we'll go around the circle from there."
Mr. and Mrs. Obama sat and listened intently as each one of us shared our personal healthcare stories. Mary
Todd Glascock, a mom from Virginia Beach, Va., was able to keep her
21-year-old son on her insurance plan despite being diagnosed with a
rare and aggressive form of cancer two years ago.
Nicole Duritz, a
mom from Alexandria, Va., shared her story about her twins being born
prematurely at 31 weeks. Janise Kyle from Arlington, Va., explained how
she'd adopted her nephew after her sister died, and had just helped him
sign up for insurance as a young adult.
We spoke for about 30
minutes and then the president explained that the media would come in so
he and the first lady could make a statement. You can hear what they
had to say by clicking here.
you didn't see in that video is, despite being told that no questions
would be taken at that time, a reporter yelled out after their
statements, "Mrs. Obama, why have you decided to join the president's
efforts to promote the healthcare law?"
To which she emphatically responded, "Because I'm a mom."
I couldn't have summed it up better myself.