Sunday, November 8, 2009

A cry for health care reform

Kim Yaman works two jobs to help pay for her mounting health care costs. Yaman has Cushing's Disease, a rare tumor of the pituitary gland.

BY SARAH AVERY - Staff Writer

Galvanized by the difficulties a Cary woman has had paying medical bills despite two jobs and health insurance, a group of more than 60 community activists gathered in Raleigh on Saturday to raise support for a health care reform bill.

The group, all friends of Cary grandmother Kim Yaman, fanned out from downtown Raleigh to knock on doors and give out information about bills being considered in Washington.

A vote in the U.S. House of Representatives was on tap Saturday.

"I guess I'm a rallying point for why we need health care," Yaman said.

Yaman, whose story was featured last month in The News & Observer as part of a series about health care reform, has Cushing's Disease, a rare tumor of the pituitary gland. The illness causes weight gain, muscle weakness, high blood pressure and bone loss, among other problems.

For years, Yaman didn't know what was causing her ill health, but frequent visits to doctors and myriad tests caused escalating medical bills. She took on a second job at the Galaxy Theater in Cary to augment her pay at the Wake County Public School System, but the expenses still mounted, despite insurance.

Last month, Yaman held a demonstration at Sen. Kay Hagan's office to call for health reform that includes a public option. Yaman and friends handed out Moon Pies to passers-by, because they said they weren't asking for the moon in seeking reform.

Saturday's event drew community activists from Seattle, California, New York and Chicago - all who had worked with Yaman last year during the presidential campaigns and were eager to help a cause they hoped would help their friend. or 919-829-4882


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