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Arizona woman leads health care protest at Kyl’s office

Shirley McAllister stood outside Republican Sen. Jon Kyl’s office, holding a blue folder and waiting to tell Kyl about her daughter-in-law, Linnea, who she said is suffering from a disease that went untreated because of a lack of health insurance.

Inside the folder was a copy of a Harvard medical study released earlier this year, which shows 45,000 people die each year due to lack of health insurance. McAllister, a Phoenix resident and chairwoman of Democratic Party Legislative District 9, was a part of a small group who showed up to protest in front of Kyl’s office Oct. 26.

Kyl became a target for supporters of congressional Democrats’ proposal for health care reform after he made a statement on national television that called into question whether an increasing number of people are dying in the United States due to lack of health insurance.

Kyl told NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory that “I’m not sure that it’s a fact that more and more people die because they don’t have health insurance. But because they don’t have health insurance, the care is not delivered in the best and most efficient way.”

Kyl was in Washington during the protest at his downtown Phoenix office and was not there to receive the packet of information from McAllister. The protest group, minus the press in attendance, was allowed to meet with Jane Grace, a registered nurse who is the health care representative with Kyl’s office.

“She (Grace) responded to some of our concerns. She said that she had read Linnea’s story, someone had given her a copy of it,” McAllister said. “We had a chance to say what we wanted to say.”

In a broken voice, McAllister explained to the media how her daughter-in-law was caught in a snowstorm in the early 80s, leading to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. For years she was denied insurance by private companies, and eventually became paralyzed. Now, at age 51, Linnea is living in Kansas and is covered by a government insurance plan. She can only talk and chew on her own and is cared for by her daughter and a friend.

McAllister has sent letters including Linnea’s story to Kyl, but she said Kyl has not responded. The situation has prompted McAllister to become a supporter of proposals to include a public option in national health care legislation.

“I think our country is too good for this spotty patchwork healthcare we have,” said McAllister. “I hope that Sen. Kyl will take a second look on possible reform to health care and a public option.

“Linnea’s not the only person affected by this. It seems to me if she had good medical care, although there’s no cure, we could have delayed the onset.”

Former congressional Democratic candidate Bob Lord also attended the protest.

“You’d have to be breathtakingly dishonest or breathtakingly ignorant to say what Kyl said. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and think he’s ignorant,” Lord said.

Lord said he wants all senators to announce whether they agree with Kyl.

Kyl’s office declined to comment for this story.


  1. Good for you Shirley, and good for Bob Lord, right place, right time, right issues.

  2. 1. Daughter could have gone to any county hospital
    2. Could ask how many pple die due to having health care insurance
    3. Where is her personal responsibility in taking care of her health early on
    4. Bottom line how in this depression are we going to pay for the total over haul of our health care which the real issue being control by the gov of our health care

  3. McAllister is a political operative (on the smaller scale) and is only forwarding the agenda of her party. I think it is true that reform is necessary or needed, but a government takeover of the healthcare system is not reform, it will mean oppression. Ms McAllister has not considered the reality of government sponsored healthcare, which will not be cheap nor free. Bob Lord is the individual in this story who is “breathtakingly” dishonest and in this writer’s view, ignorant. Democrats will have a good deal to own up to when they bring the country to ruin and bankruptcy through their policies, legislation and manipulation of the courts.

  4. Even with insurance, many of us have experienced denial of authorization of such diagnostic procrrdures as valley fever tests and chest xays when we had pneumonia. In my case I chnged doctors and got on a research ptoject that did the chest xay, diagnosed the pneumonia. Compnies deny car1st casw CIGNA and second MetLife. Now I have Socialized medicine A and B no other coverage and spend less and am better pff in all respects than those with medicare advantage whic only is an advantage for insurance compnies.

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