Melanie Shouse, health care activist, dies at 41

MelanieAtRally

ST. LOUIS -- Melanie Shouse was 37 when she first felt the lump. She couldn't believe it. But she kept up her fighting spirit, especially for health care reform.

"When I first noticed a small lump on my breast, denial seemed the only option," Ms. Shouse told this news site at a Jobs with Justice, MO State Workers' Union rally held outside of a Department of Social Services office here.

Melanie Shouse died Saturday, January 30. She had been fighting cancer and the insurance industry for over 4 1/2 years. She was 41.

When she first found the lump in her breast she didn't know what to do. She couldn't afford the $5,000 deductible her catastrophic health insurance policy required.

"For weeks after diagnosis," Melanie told me, "I was in a state of near panic regarding how I would pay for treatment. I had no savings and no real assets, and no idea how I was going to cover these monumental co-pays and deductibles."

"And with this prize-winning pre-existing condition, I had no opportunity to seek a better private health plan. I was shut out of the market," she concluded.

Ms. Shouse, like many people throughout the nation, faced a recalcitrant and irresponsible health care system. She faced a system that cared more about profits than life. And until the end, Melanie bravely faced that system and spoke truth to power.  

At a health care rally last November, Ms. Shouse said, "we need to take on the big insurance monopoly and liberate American families from the slavery of skyrocketing insurance premiums and canceled coverage, which leave millions of us in a state of perpetual fear and insecurity..."

In addition to advocating affordable health care for everyone, she was an activist for clean energy, economic reform and public transportation. Additionally, she was a long-time supporter of the People's Weekly World, the predecessor of the People's World.
Ms. Shouse grew up in Indiana, graduated from high school in Plano, Texas, and then from Texas A&M University with a major in biology.

She moved to San Francisco, where she met her future partner, Steve Hart, on a picket line. They were together for 20 years.

Melanie and Steve then moved to St. Louis and started Sweet Meat Stix, a well known meat market that sold only humanely raised beef.

Ms. Shouse requested that her body be cremated wearing her Obama T-shirt.

Friends and family plan a celebration of her life at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Avenue.
The family suggests memorial contributions to Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, 412 Greenleaf Drive, Kirkwood, Mo. 63122; Susan G. Komen for the Cure, St. Louis affiliate, P.O. Box 790129, Dept. SK, St. Louis, Mo., 63179-0129; or St. Louis Jobs with Justice, 2725 Clifton Street, St. Louis, Mo. 63139.

Melanie Shouse will be missed.

Photo: Melanie Shouse, far right, and her partner, Steve Hart, at a health care rally in St. Louis. Tony Pecinovsky/PW

 

 

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  • Thanks to Melanie, many more will fight on in her stead. May she rest in peace.

    Posted by CPR Certification, 02/08/2012 6:18pm (3 years ago)

  • Awesome way of thinking,good things, Presently there are many people looking about the same topic.,now they will find the required options by your content.We are now looking forward for extra info about it

    Posted by solar fountain, 12/30/2011 3:59am (3 years ago)

  • Health care is so out of whack it is just ridiculous. When people can't even afford to get the help they need to be healthy is such a shame, especially when you see where our economy/government chooses to spend money.

    Posted by Torrent, 08/03/2011 5:40am (3 years ago)

  • In addition to advocating affordable health care for everyone, she was an activist for clean energy, economic reform and public transportation. Additionally, she was a long-time supporter of the People's Weekly World, the predecessor of the People's World.

    Posted by Hiv symptoms, 07/17/2011 1:38am (3 years ago)

  • Although non-citizens have a significantly greater proportion of uncompensated and charity care than naturalized citizens, these findings likely reflect non-citizens' poor access to care and low socioeconomic status, the studies conclude.

    Posted by shingles symptoms, 07/07/2011 9:24am (3 years ago)

  • 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.

    Posted by healthy positive thought, 06/21/2011 2:37am (3 years ago)

  • Private healthcare is an outrage. We have to pay for it and it nearly breaks us. Our $10,000 deductible is another issue altogether. Something has to be done.

    Posted by Indianapolis Dealerships, 04/29/2011 11:13pm (4 years ago)

  • That is sad to hear. Health care is so out of whack it is just ridiculous. When people can't even afford to get the help they need to be healthy is such a shame, especially when you see where our economy/government chooses to spend money.

    Posted by Kelly, 04/26/2011 1:37pm (4 years ago)

  • it is so sad to hear that Melanie Shouse died at the age of 41, it is such a young age, apparently she was doing a lot of good work in the healthcare field as well, which made it a double blow, she will be sadly lost, and hopefully remembered, lets not forget the good work she did and the cause she fought for.

    Posted by sv, 04/18/2011 2:53pm (4 years ago)

  • She died of cancer and had a limited insurance. Oh, that's the story quite common in Missouri, where the State House hopes to the sick die and die quickly if they have no money. So sad is the fact that the St. Louis area, St. Louis has some of the best and most modern technologies and the best doctors and hospitals worldwide.

    Posted by orkut, 02/23/2011 2:32pm (4 years ago)

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