Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers, presented the Frost family of Maryland with the Health Care Heroes Award at its recent annual Health Action conference. This award, given by Families USA for only the second time, recognizes the Frost family’s courage and determination to stand firm in their support of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) despite false accusations and vicious attacks on their family by conservative commentators and bloggers.
“The Frost family deserves this award because they’ve shown all of us through their personal experience that they are true heroes,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. “They stood together to tell their story publicly in an effort to show the importance of the CHIP program for their family and families like them.”
In 2004, the CHIP program played a vital role in Graeme’s recovery from a terrible car accident that caused severe brain trauma. Graeme was in a coma for a week and remained in the hospital for five months, where he had to undergo intensive therapy to learn how to walk and talk again. His sister Gemma, who was also in the car, sustained severe injuries, including a cranial fracture. She is now blind in her left eye and has difficulty with memory, learning, and speech.
In late September 2007, 12-year-old Graeme Frost of Baltimore delivered the weekly Democratic radio address and urged the President not to veto a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and expand it to cover millions of uninsured children.
Graeme’s radio address aired on stations across the country. About a week later, the family fell victim to what became a baseless, all-out smear campaign by right-wing bloggers and critics of the CHIP program. These “critics” criticized the Frosts, misconstrued their circumstances, and insisted that they were too wealthy to receive coverage through CHIP, despite already being deemed eligible by the state of Maryland.
During the time that the children were hospitalized, the Frost family relied on CHIP. Because of their experience, Bonnie and Halsey Frost decided to come out in support of CHIP and share their story about how the program helped their family.
Instead of arguing over the merits of the CHIP program, conservatives attacked Graeme and his family. Soon, news of the Frosts and the conservative assault spread across the nation through the media and countless blogs.
Despite false accusations and vicious attacks on their family, the Frosts did not waiver. They stood by their support of the CHIP program and health coverage for America’s children. Bonnie Frost said, “The whole point of it for me was that this program helped my family, and I wanted it to help others.”
“Graeme and his family had the strength to speak out and the courage to do what was right,” said Pollack. “That’s why we are proud to recognize them at our annual conference with the Health Care Heroes Award.”
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.