A Silicon Valley father who lost his 11-year-old son after years of battling a heart defect wrote a succinct and compelling Twitter narrative extolling the benefits of having good health insurance, unleashing a torrent of mostly support, just hours after the Congressional Budget Office released a study estimating the new Senate healthcare bill would leave 22 million Americans uninsured over the next decade.
The legislation aims to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
“I haven’t tweeted much about healthcare because it’s a painful subject for me,” tweeted Ken Norton of San Francisco, a partner at GV, formerly Google Ventures, and who was a longtime Google product manager. “But it’s important, so let me tell you my story.”
In a series of 19 tweets on Monday, Norton, who did not immediately respond to KTVU for comment, recounted the sad tale of his son, Riley, who died in 2014 after years of battling a preexisting heart condition he was born with in 2003.
As of early Tuesday morning, his main tweet had more than 12,000 retweets. His story obviously resonated with people like Gwynn, who tweeted, "My cousin had a heart defect fixed in infancy. Not a single related problem since. Still couldn't get affordable coverage until #Obamacare." Another person tweeted at Norton, "I love my kiddos so, so much. They're the reason I'm fighting so hard against this legislation."
Aside from writing about how much he loved his blond-haired son who is pictured with a wide smile, Norton wrote about how important it was to have good health insurance through his employer in order to give Riley. His son had to have multiple heart surgeries and hospital visits, which totaled $3 million, all of which were paid by his insurance, Norton said.
"Nothing was more important to me than having coverage," Norton wrote. "We focused on giving him a happy life instead of bankruptcy, GoFundMes, or taking second or third jobs that would take us away from him. Even then, our lives were upended. I wanted to start a company, or join a very early stage startup. I could not risk losing coverage."
Norton also detailed how he realized that he had "top notch" healthcare, and than he believes all Americans should have what he did. As a society, he wrote, Americans should not support tax cuts and should help out those in need. Anyone can become sick, he wrote.
"I want everyone to have what he had," Norton wrote. "Because we are humans."