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Health and Medicine

The Ohio woman who won the health-care heart of President Obama
President cites Natoma Canfield as the symbol of the battle
This story is part of a special series.

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:

A Medina woman played prominently in President Obama’s speech today celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court decision on health care. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the story of Natoma Canfield, and her place in the national health-care debate.

SCHULTZE on Natoma Canfield and President Obama

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Natoma Canfield is 52, a cat lover and a breast cancer survivor.

She also is a key part of the story President Obama tells in explaining his commitment to the health-care overhaul that many believe has cost him politically. 

“For years and years, Natoma did everything right. She bought health insurance, she paid her premiums on time," he started in his speech shortly after noon today.

He knows that because two years ago, she sat down and wrote him a letter 

“I never expected the president to actually read my letter. But I wanted somebody, somewhere to know that I cancelled my insurance."

And, she wanted them to know why.

“With everything I had in it, I kept it, ... as long as I could. I cut back everything I had. I just couldn’t pay any more. I didn’t make that much. And it was taking all of my money to pay my health insurance, and I wasn’t using that for cancer things because my cancer was gone, my breast cancer was operated on and I didn’t have it any more.” 

What she did have, and didn’t know at the time she cancelled was another form of cancer. 

“As soon as I cancelled my insurance, a few weeks later my worst fears were confirmed I collapsed while I was working and they rushed me to the hospital and followed with a diagnosis of leukemia.”

 All of that was in the letter that Mr. Obama read and framed  and hung on his wall. 

And, "I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law," the president said. “It reminded me of all the Americans, all across the country, who have had to worry not only about getting sick, but about the cost of getting well,” he said. “Natoma is well today. And because of this law, there are other Americans — other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers — who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance.” 

Canfield says the law has shortcomings, but "I’m glad that it passed. I’m glad the Supreme Court viewed it as legal. And I view it as a start. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s going to help a lot of people. 

She says her cancer is in remission, while she continues treatment for her leukemia.


Listener Comments:

"If only people would learn to tell the truth instead of lying all of the time maybe things and people could understand." - true, although people make their own truth, and Republicans' are not lying any more than liberals'.
The truth is, if the money is not there, it's not paid for, and with gov. health care people are constantly getting denied benefits. Anyone drawing government stipends can attest to this.
This bill does nothing to address health care reform. The gov. gives authority, and dictates in many areas that do not have anything to do with healthcare. Special interests are paid off with a tax that will come from everyone's paycheck, just like Social Security - Biden stated Social Security is doing just fine, - yea, right, and Romneycare is like Obamacare - it is not, Romney is not an arrogant narcissist, trying to lie about "reforms" - and people are believing the lies, probably because the media supports Obama.

Posted by: know your opposition on July 1, 2012 5:07AM
I am a heart patient and with out this insurance I would be bankrupted because it is cheap to have open heart surgery and believe me it is a long haul to keep your head above water and thank god that you can see another sunrise. My insurance isn't cheap by no means and if I had to cancel it because the rise in the cost which I might half to do anyways because instead of the cost going down it keeps going up and I can't afford to keep paying for the higher cost and put food one the table and clothes on my back but, everything seems to be going up faster than ever now but, I have to hang on because they say there is always a light at the tunnel and maybe now there will be. Believe me while waitting for this decision to come across I was scared. If only people would learn to tell the truth instead of lying all of the time maybe things and people could understand.

Posted by: Sara Messenger (United States) on June 28, 2012 6:06AM
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