Seattle 11-year-old to testify for health care reform



Posted on March 9, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A little boy from Seattle is touching the hearts of thousands of people who came to Washington D.C. Tuesday to protest the health insurance industry.

Marcelas Owens turns 11-years-old Wednesday and all he wants for his birthday is health care reform. Three years ago, Marcelas lost his 27-year-old mother to pulmonary hypertension. She became too sick to work and, when she lost her job, she lost her health insurance.

"She was in pain and she could barely walk," said Marcelas. "I think if she had health care, they could have given her the medicine that she needed and the treatment."

Marcelas' Grandmother, Gina Owens, now cares for him and his two younger sisters. She says her daughter would be proud.

"I'm sure she's walking with him every step of the way," said Owens.

Marcelas joins thousand of other people who rallied in front of the hotel where the health insurance industry is holding their annual conference.

They say their profits are between three and four percent - tiny compared to what the pharmaceutical companies make.

"Our industry includes hundreds of thousands of men and women who work hard every day to make the system work better and they don't deserve to be vilified as some political strategy," said Robert Zirkelbach of America's Health Insurance Plan.

Even though health insurance companies says their profits are not outrageous, holding their conference at the Ritz-Carlton where the standard room goes for $599 a night is not sitting well with protesters.

Marcelas will spend his 11th birthday on Capitol Hill to testify in front of a Congressional committee.

"Even if the health care bill doesn't pass, I'm gonna still march for health care, 'cause I know it's the right thing," said Marcelas.