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Sen. Patty Murray remarks on community health centers at White House health summit

CQ Transcriptions
Thursday, February 25, 2010; 5:52 PM

MURRAY: Mr. President, thank you, and this has been I think a very good discussion. And I think all of us come to this table today having heard a lot of stories and talked to a lot of people and bring their passions with us today. And I certainly am one of those.

Every time we talk about this, every time I think about this, I remember a little boy who I met last spring, who was 11 years old, who's name was Marcellus. And he told me that his mom, single mom, taking care of him and his two younger sisters, was going to work every day, had a job managing a fast-food restaurant, was doing OK, but she got sick. And when she got sick, she had to take time off from work. And because she was missing so much work, she lost her job. When she lost her job, she lost her health care. And because she lost her health care, she couldn't get in to see a doctor and sadly, Marcellus' mom died.

I think about him every time we talk about this bill. And what happened to her is happening to so many Americans who when they get sick today don't have any choices. They have nowhere to go. Either they don't have insurance or they've been denied insurance insurance because they don't have -- because they have a preexisting condition or they're a small business whose premiums have gone up so dramatically that they can no longer afford to provide it for their employees.

MURRAY: Too many Americans today are in a box and they don't have a choice. Frankly, it's why so many Americans today are passion about a public option. It was a choice for them that they felt was important to them.

But in the bill that you have presented and that we have been working on, that is so important, is it finally gets some people out of that box of no choices by giving them an exchange that they can go to, by taking care of the insurance reforms so they're not denied coverage, by opening up community health centers so people have choices, by making sure that we lower the cost for all Americans because when we provide coverage for 30 million Americans, it lowers the cost of everyone who has insurance today by $1,000 a year a family.

This is why this is so important. And what I have listened for today is whether the alternative proposal that has come before us gives people those choices that they need. And that's what I'm listening for and I go back to Marcellus (ph) and I think will that proposal make sure that nobody loses their mom again because they didn't have a choice?

And that's why it's so important that we move forward with what we have and open that door for so many Americans.

OBAMA: Thank you.

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