Shouse, 41, spent much of her last years fighting for health care reform. When first stricken with cancer, she put off getting treatment because she couldn't afford to pay her insurance policy's $5,000 deducible. Later she found it difficult to get her insurer to pay for procedures that might have saved her life.
Yesterday the Post-Dispatch published a moving obituary recounting Shouse's life and causes -- she also owned an organic meat business, advocated for clean energy and public transportation and volunteered diligently for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
Too late to include in the newspaper's tribute to Shouse yesterday was Obama's speech last night that used her work as an example for others.
From Obama's comments last night at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser:
I got a letter -- I got a note today from one of my staff -- they forwarded it to me -- from a woman in St. Louis who had been part of our campaign, very active, who had passed away from breast cancer. She didn't have insurance. She couldn't afford it, so she had put off having the kind of exams that she needed. And she had fought a tough battle for four years. All through the campaign she was fighting it, but finally she succumbed to it. And she insisted she's going to be buried in an Obama t-shirt. (Laughter.)Actually, Mr. President, I believe Shouse was cremated -- not buried -- in her Obama t-shirt.
But think about this: She was fighting that whole time not just to get me elected, not even to get herself health insurance, but because she understood that there were others coming behind her who were going to find themselves in the same situation and she didn't want somebody else going through that same thing. (Applause.) How can I say to her, "You know what? We're giving up"? How can I say to her family, "This is too hard"? How can Democrats on the Hill say, "This is politically too risky"? How can Republicans on the Hill say, "We're better off just blocking anything from happening"?
Read more about Shouse here.
Hat tip to St. Louis Activist Hub.