Local woman helps Obamacare efforts at White House


Felicia Willems says her visit with the president left her more inspired to help reform healthcare.

After landing at RDU Wednesday evening fresh from the White House, Willems chalked up her visit with the president as a congratulatory pep talk to keep pushing the message about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

"The president and the first lady made it very clear that moms need to be having these conversations with their children, especially their young adult children, to make sure that they understand that it's a responsibility that you need to get covered," said Willems.

Along with the Obamas, other prominent women in the administration attended the Oval Office gathering including Senior Administration Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

"There's something about moms," said President Obama. "Moms can tell young people who think they are invincible that they are not."

The meeting with the moms comes a little more than two-and-a-half months after Obamacare's rocky rollout which included a firestorm of criticism for its failed website.

The president is banking on women like Willem to share their personal stories. Her son was born with a tumor that required chemotherapy.

"He was literally born with a preexisting condition," said Willems. "So just to have that worry taken away that he'll actually be able to get coverage for the rest of his life is worth everything to me."

For six years now, Willems has worked with MomsRising, which is a nationwide, grassroots effort to try to get people to embrace reform.

Willems says next month MomsRising will host house parties with moms across the nation to raise awareness about Obamacare.

In the coming days, first lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to do a series of interviews on national radio shows that target African-Americans.

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