WCAAP Communications Manager
Dr. Casey Lion wasn’t expecting a call from Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s office. Sure, she had sent a few emails and made a few phone calls to the congresswoman about about children and health – but she was surprised when Rep. DelBene’s legislative assistant for health care sought her out. “They reached out in response to an email I sent about how important the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to the children I take care of,” says Dr. Lion. The legislative assistant called and asked if the Congresswoman could share Lion’s thoughts on the floor of the House, and later to join a meeting in her home district. Rep. DelBene was interested in learning more about how the potential repeal of the ACA would affect the children in her district.
“Too often, we forget our healthcare laws are about more than numbers and talking points. They are about real people,” Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) said. “That’s why it’s so important to have conversations like these with families who will be directly harmed if Medicaid is gutted and protections for pre-existing conditions are repealed. We cannot go back to a time when getting sick meant going bankrupt. America’s families, especially our children, deserve better.”
The congresswoman planned a meeting with two mothers of children with serious health concerns, and invited Dr. Lion to join the conversation to provide pediatric expertise. Genesis is an intensive care nurse at Virginia Mason whose two-year-old son, Sammy has severe Hemophilia A and requires an IV injection every day. Sammy has already reached $1 million in medical expenses, so things like no lifetime caps and ensuring he will not go bankrupt while trying to pay for insurance are vital. Suzy is also the mother of a son with significant needs, Colton, who has suffered from high-risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He is now 16 and has battled this cancer five times in just seven years.
Dr. Lion has been practicing medicine for 10 years with a research focus on improving quality of health care for vulnerable children, especially those with language barriers. Her first foray into federal advocacy opened the door to an ongoing relationship with Rep. DelBene. The experience taught Casey how our input informs the decisions elected officials make on behalf of all of us. When we take the time to send an email or make a phone call, it really does make a difference.