Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Atlanta Mom on Mission for Quality, Affordable Healthcare for All Drives Purple Bus Across Nation Gathering Stories

/PRNewswire/ -- As lawmakers wrangle over health reform legislation and the insurance industry ramps up its opposition to reform, one mom is making sure people's voices are heard. Kathie McClure, an Atlanta mother, has logged more than 16,500 miles through 25 states to expose the gaps in our tattered healthcare system safety net and inspire Americans to speak up for real solutions. McClure, a 54 year-old former lawyer and mother of two, will deliver hundreds of personal stories to members of Congress when she arrives in Washington, DC on June 24 with one mission: to convince lawmakers to finally provide quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Since the tour began on March 31, McClure has traveled around the country in the little bus her husband refurbished and painted purple to represent a mixture of the red and blue factions that too often divide our country. It is emblazoned with the campaign's web site, "VoteHealthcare.org," and hundreds of smiley faces representing people all across the country in desperate need of a healthcare system that works for them, not against them.

Now known as the "Purple Bus Lady," McClure formed the nonprofit 501(c)(3) and launched her cross-country trek when insurers refused to sell reasonably priced policies to her own children because of their "pre-existing conditions." Her son, Chris, 27, suffers from Type 1 diabetes, and her daughter, Caitlin, 25, suffers from epilepsy. She believes the way she can influence real change on healthcare in Washington is by collecting stories of people's heartbreak and frustration when insurance companies use fine print and loopholes to deny care.

"Though Washington politicians and moneyed special interests debate the future of our healthcare," said McClure, "as a concerned mother I know that meaningful reform that achieves quality, affordable healthcare for all will not happen without citizens' overwhelming support."

McClure has met countless Americans who, like her, demand that lawmakers put asides partisan differences and find real solutions. "My journey has taught me that I am not alone in this fight," she said. Just a fraction of those she's met include:

-- Jackie, a Persian Gulf veteran who struggles to find basic, preventive
care for her kindergarten age son in La Grande, Oregon;
-- Dan, an unemployed construction worker from Bothell, Washington,
diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes weeks after losing his coverage;
-- Wendy, a hard working 52-year-old organic farmer in Nampa, Idaho, who
is too young for Medicare but can no longer afford the premiums for
her railroad retiree health benefits.


McClure's next stops are in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska on June 16 and Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa on June 17 and 18, then on to Washington, DC's Freedom Plaza on June 24. The full schedule is available at http://www.votehealthcare.org/bandwagon.aspx. To see a compilation of media coverage she's received around the country, visit http://www.votehealthcare.org/Article.aspx?ID=19.

"Whether they live in red states or blue states, people understand what's going on in Washington. They know the insurance and pharmaceutical industries make excessive profits and spend millions lining politicians' pockets and broadcasting misleading ads. People all over the country are standing up and demanding reform," said McClure. "To members of Congress who are not sure they should vote for health reform, I invite you to ride with me on the purple bus."

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