Dawn’s First Day in DC

Atlanta feels like a million miles away. Today on Capital Hill, we met with lawmakers and opinion makers about Dawn’s extraordinary experience. Walking through the halls of congressional offices, overhearing conversations in the cafeteria, it’s easy to see why the folks on our journey would feel like their voices aren’t being heard here. The talk is all vote counts and bill language — it seems easy to lose track of why health care reform is needed.

That’s why Dawn is here.  Today I watched her speak with reporters, congressmen and activists, and you could see her impact immediately: as soon as Dawn began to tell her story, people sobered up and paid attention. She forced them to think about health care reform as a matter of real pain and suffering, rather than cloture votes and log rolling.

But at the same time, the reaction of folks in DC didn’t differ all that much from the response of folks in Norfolk, or Asheville, or Atlanta. And that’s probably our greatest source of hope for the creation of a decent health care system: that the people eventually calling the shots remember what it’s like to feel at the mercy of indifferent illness, and do what’s right for people like Dawn.