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LETTER: Health-care reform needed now

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 14, 2009 - Congress is on the brink of real health care reform that is long overdue. Those who have insurance are fortunate, but the cost of health insurance is prohibitive for most hard-working families, senior citizens, the disabled and small business.

I am experiencing the pain first hand. I am a breast cancer survivor of 17 years. While I am grateful for each year of survival, my body's organs have been damaged as I grow older and my health continues to decline. I was forced to retire in 2001 due to heart issues. During the past eight years, I have developed numerous health issues including diabetes, strokes, dental problems and, most recently, Cervical Spondiolesis.

I was forced to quit working part time in May. I am now facing surgery on my spine due to damage to my spinal cord from the neck down. I am fortunate that I have Social Security Disability and Medicare, but too many Americans have nothing. What will be the cost if we do not provide health coverage for these individuals?

I read recently that Roy Blunt and numerous congressmen are opposing real reform through a public plan option. I would like to share my story with these members of Congress. I hope Americans will speak out about their desire to have health care for their families.

Brenda Benedict | Ballwin