Sarah Palin, you are not my advocate. You do not speak for me. You do not speak for my child.
You do not speak for the many good friends of mine who have children with chronic medical issues far more severe than my own son's neurological disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder. You do not speak for all parents of children with Down Syndrome. You do not speak for the member of my extended family who has Down Syndrome.
What you said on your Facebook page, about mythical Obama "death panels"?
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil. -Sarah Palin
If enough people believe it — if enough people are scared by it into opposing any kind of health insurance reform — that politically motivated statement deliberately promoting a dangerous rumor that has been proven to be patently false could cause tens of thousands of children with special needs in the United States to continue to suffer without adequate health care for years to come.
In the United States, children with chronic health issues are often denied coverage by private health insurance companies that consider their health concerns to be a pre-existing condition. Some of those children denied coverage under private health insurance are, thankfully, able to qualify for public health insurance through Medicaid or SCHIP — two of our country's existing socialized medical insurance programs — but some are not. And those children who do have private insurance coverage are often forced to pay high co-pays for routine procedures, and are frequently denied authorization for recommended medical care.
Every day in the United States, children with autism or cerebral palsy are denied occupational therapy. Children with juvenile diabetes are denied insulin pumps. Children with asthma are denied inhalers. American parents of children with chronic health conditions must fight a tangled bureaucratic health insurance system constantly to make sure that their kids can get access to the care recommended by their doctors.
And that's why the National Down Syndrome Congress supports health insurance reform. That's why the Autism Society of America supports health insurance reform. That's why Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the American Diabetes Association, and the March of Dimes all support health care insurance reform. Because all of these organizations are advocates for children with special needs.
That's why I support health reform. Because I am a parent of a child with special needs. Because I've spent hours and hours of my life tangled up in the red tape that stands between my son and his needed health care, desperately fighting against enormous for-profit corporations who see my beautiful, beloved child not as a person who needs help but as a profit loss.
I support health insurance reform because I want exceptional children like my son — children like your son, Trig — to get the best of care. And under our current broken health care system, far too many do not.