But, as heart-wrenching as the stories can be, they are just stories:
Foes of expanding government-run health care also have stories of real people on YouTube and in advertisements. Ads by Conservatives for Patients' Rights feature patients like Katie Brickell, a British citizen, who says she was denied a Pap smear that could have saved her from cervical cancer.
"In all likelihood, I only have a couple of years," Brickell says in a YouTube version of her story. "I feel the National Health Service has let me down.
"We can't have policy by anecdote," Herrick said. Stories of people who have fallen through the cracks "have an oversized influence on the debate even as they obscure the greater question of what will help most people. Even a policy that does the greatest good may still have people who fall through the cracks."