Barack Obama's stepmum defends NHSBy Lorna Catling
August 20, 2009
American president Barack Obama’s stepmother Kezia has joined the online campaign defending the NHS.
She stepped into the fray this week to talk about her own experiences of the NHS, and to encourage her stepson to make good his pledge to reform healthcare in the US despite objections.
Kezia Obama, who lives in Bullbrook, said she owes her life to the NHS and would be “incredibly proud” if Barack introduced a similar system.
Kezia, 67, first used the taxpayer-funded system in 2002 when her doctor in Forest Park referred her to St Thomas’s Hospital in London, where she was treated for kidney failure.
She still receives ongoing NHS care for the kidney condition, care she said she would not have been able to afford if she had been in America or her home country of Kenya.
Kezia then had two hip replacements in 2004 at Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, and said that without those operations she would probably be in a wheelchair by now.
Kezia, who was Barack’s father’s first wife, said: “I was lucky enough to be here when I needed care, I couldn’t have afforded it somewhere else.
“The doctors in Bracknell and all the NHS doctors and nurses do a fantastic job.
“I am so happy with how I have been cared for.
“I appreciate some people have not had the best experience with the NHS but I have and I want to make people aware that, although sometimes another system might provide better care, I have had fantastic help from them.”
She added of her stepson: “For people who can’t afford private healthcare or insurance in America, if they could then get healthcare because this happened,then I would be incredibly proud of him.”
Barack Obama has come under fire in the last week from Americans who do not want him to start a similar healthcare system to the NHS in America.
British politician MEP Daniel Hannan, a Tory who represents the South East, also sparked outrage in this country for publicly speaking out against the NHS.
But online campaigners have started groups called We Love the NHS and posted Twitter comments supporting the institution.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown even logged on to write: “NHS often makes the difference between pain and comfort, despair and hope, life and death. Thanks for always being there.”