Congressman rails against undocumented immigrants his family cares for
Three months had passed since Grace Gosar and five of her siblings decided they had to do something to stop their brother, a hard-line conservative and staunch defender of President Trump, from winning reelection to Congress.
Their solution back then had been startling: Film a campaign ad for their brother’s opponent.
Grace, a 54-year-old mother of three, was battling ovarian cancer. The disease had taken a steady toll on her body, so much so that when she faced the camera that day and endorsed her brother’s opponent, she worried that the remainder of her life would be measured in months rather than years.
“I couldn’t be quiet any longer, nor should any of us be,” she said in the ad, which cut to another one of her siblings and then another and another and another and another, all imploring voters to cast aside their brother.
like so many Americans whose lives had been shaken by the country’s dysfunctional politics, Grace was wrestling with what came next. What did it mean to be a good daughter, mother, sister and citizen at a moment when her health and her country seemed to be unraveling? Some version of that question was still bedeviling all her siblings.
Grace’s answer came on a frigid December day when she headed off to see patients at the Downtown Clinic, which offered free health care to anyone without insurance.
She had decided to spend what she knew could be her last months attending to the indigent and undocumented in Laramie — some of the very people targeted by Paul’s uncompromising policies and harsh rhetoric.
Her younger brother Pete, 50, served as the clinic’s executive director and needed the extra help to cover a growing patient load. Grace needed something to distract her from the country’s poisonous politics and the steady advance of her cancer.
So she spent the day seeing patients who had no place else to go.
About half of the clinic’s patients, like Nick, worked part time and were battling severe and chronic health conditions
These men would never find jobs with health benefits, Pete and Grace knew. If voters and lawmakers spent a day at the clinic, Pete was sure they would demand a more humane system.
“When I began in medicine I didn’t believe — I did not believe — health care was a right,” she said in the ad. “I couldn’t be but 180 degrees from where I started.”
A few weeks after the ad aired, Grace and her husband sold their home to pay for her care.
Her insurance company, United Healthcare, had stopped paying for the infusions of the drug Avastin that were keeping her alive. First, they told her, the Food and Drug Administration-
approved drug was “not medically necessary,” she said. Then they insisted that it was “experimental and investigational.” Now the company was saying she owed nearly $200,000 and counting.