by Frank James
Having had their own attempts to persuade President Bush to sign the children's health insurance program fall on deaf presidential ears, as well as appeals by supportive Republican Senate colleagues, Senate Democrats have decided to pull out all stops. They're having a 12 year old deliver their weekly radio address.
Here's a press release from Senate Democrats with a transcript of Graeme Frost's remarks.
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD CHIP PARTICIPANT ASKS PRESIDENT TO SIGN CHILDREN’S HEALTH RENEWAL INTO LAW
Washington, DC—Graeme Frost, 12, delivers this week’s Democratic Radio Address. Because of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Graeme was able to get the medical care he needed after a serious car accident caused severe brain trauma, paralyzed one of his vocal chords and put him in a coma. He asks President Bush to sign into law the renewal of CHIP that both houses of Congress passed this week with broad bipartisan support.
The text of the radio address, as delivered, is below:
“Hi, my name is Graeme Frost. I’m 12 years old and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. Most kids my age probably haven’t heard of CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But I know all about it, because if it weren’t for CHIP, I might not be here today.
“CHIP is a law the government made to help families like mine afford healthcare for their kids. Three years ago, my family was in a really bad car accident. My younger sister Gemma and I were both hurt. I was in a coma for a week and couldn’t eat or stand up or even talk at first. My sister was even worse. I was in the hospital for five-and-a-half months and I needed a big surgery. For a long time after that, I had to go to physical therapy after school to get stronger. But even though I was hurt badly, I was really lucky. My sister and I both were.
“My parents work really hard and always make sure my sister and I have everything we need, but the hospital bills were huge. We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program.
“But there are millions of kids out there who don’t have CHIP, and they wouldn’t get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. Their parents might have to sell their cars or their houses, or they might not be able to pay for hospital bills at all.
“Now I’m back to school. One of my vocal chords is paralyzed so I don’t talk the same way I used to. And I can’t walk or run as fast as I did. The doctors say I can’t play football any more, but I might still be able to be a coach. I’m just happy to be back with my friends.
“I don’t know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I’m glad I could see them because of the Children’s Health Program.
“I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me. This is Graeme Frost, and this has been the Weekly Democratic Radio address. Thanks for listening.”
If you think this is a hard political message to counter, just imagine when Democrats start running ads of other children with stories like Frost's against vulnerable members of the House and Senate.