Pelosi Announces State of the Union Guests with Health Care Stories

February 4, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the names of several of her guests for tonight’s State of the Union address who have been impacted by President Trump’s attacks on protections for people with pre-existing conditions, broken promise to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, and broader health care sabotage.  Together, House and Senate Democrats are bringing more than 80 patients, doctors and health care advocates from across the country as guests to the State of the Union.  Speaker Pelosi will announce additional guests this afternoon.

“Tonight, President Trump will speak to an audience filled with Americans who are suffering because of his broken promises on prescription drug costs and his all-out assault on Americans with pre-existing conditions,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “It is my privilege to have among my guests several brave Americans whose stories and experiences show the life and death stakes of President Trump’s assault on affordable health care.”

California Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris – Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is an award-winning physician, researcher and advocate from San Francisco whose career has been dedicated to serving vulnerable communities and combating the root causes of health disparities.  After completing her residency at Stanford, she founded a clinic in one of San Francisco’s most underserved communities, Bayview Hunters Point.  She is also the founder of the Center for Youth Wellness and the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health.  As California’s first Surgeon General, Dr. Burke Harris is a committed advocate for the health and well-being of California communities while working to advance systemic reforms that recognize, and respond to, the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic stress on children’s lifelong health.

Jonah Cohen and his mother Jennifer Pliner – In 2017, Jonah Cohen’s life dramatically changed when he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes.  It’s been a hard adjustment (especially as he is phobic of shots), but he is trying to continue to live a normal life.  Jonah is 12 years old, lives in San Francisco and has a brown belt in taekwondo, loves hip hop, plays piano and practices Krav Maga. 

Cheyanne Faulkner and Morgan Faulkner – Cheyanne Faulkner and Morgan Faulkner are identical twins living in San Francisco with Type I diabetes and volunteer as patient advocates.  Diagnosed with Type I diabetes 12 years apart, Cheyanne at age 11 and Morgan at 22, both use advanced Type I diabetes management technologies; continuous glucose monitors and an insulin pump.  Cheyanne and Morgan are active members of JDRF's Young Leadership Committee, which plays a large role in providing social, emotional and practical support to young adults with Type I diabetes and their families.

Xiomara Hung and her mother Elena Hung – Xiomara is one of the courageous Little Lobbyists from Maryland.  After spending the first five months of her life in the hospital, Xiomara is eager to explore the outside world.  She loves going to the playground, library, school, grocery store, watching Sesame Street and playing with her big brother.  Xiomara has Tracheobronchomalacia, Chronic Lung Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease and Global Development Delays.  She has a tracheostomy and is ventilator and oxygen dependent.  She also has a feeding tube for all her nutrition needs.  Access to quality health care covered by health insurance means Xiomara received the care she needed during an extended NICU hospitalization, and she can now live at home with her family and be monitored by specialists in regular outpatient appointments.  Medicaid has helped Xiomara receive the habilitative therapies she needs to catch up on her developmental milestones, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy and speech therapy.  If lifetime caps or pre-existing conditions restrictions are reinstated, she could be uninsurable and her family could be bankrupted, and she still wouldn’t get the medical care she needs thus severely impacting her quality of life.