Dear Dems: Don’t be timid about supporting Obamacare

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus recently boasted that come the 2014 elections: [we’re] going to tattoo Obamacare on Democrats’ foreheads and beat them with it.” Here’s a story he didn’t boast about. I have a friend named Roz. She is self-employed and must buy her health insurance on the open market. In 2000, Roz was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because she now has a “pre-existing” condition, her premiums max out every year. On Dec. 1 those premiums will reach $2,300 a month.

Last week my friend Roz signed up for health insurance through MNsure. On Jan. 1, her premiums will be under $500 a month. I share this story hoping that our Profiles in Panic local Democrats will tattoo a picture of Roz on their foreheads and stand with, rather than run away from, Roz and thousands of Minnesotans who will benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

I also hope that other equally timid Democratic officials — including the one who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — will tattoo on their foreheads images of millions of Americans around the country who will for the first time in their lives have access to quality, affordable health care. Like my friend Roz, they too will have the comfort of knowing that if and when they or a loved one get sick, they will not lose their health care, their life savings and perhaps most important of all, their dignity.

That’s the real, and much needed, story we should boast about.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/25/2013 - 04:52 pm.


    I’ll boast about Obamacare when it’s a single payer universal system. Which isn’t to say the current iteration is all bad–it’s a step in the right direction. But my position is Democrats should yell loud and clear from the bell tower that we need to move this forward and not only preserve ACA, but strengthen it as we move towards the ultimate goal:

    Universal single payer government-run health care coupled with compensation reform.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/25/2013 - 09:18 pm.

    The problem is

    there was no need to change the health insurance for 350 million people because of people like your friend Roz. Roz’ issue could have been solved with a simple piece of legislation that addressed that particular problem. And democrats controlled both houses of congress at that time so anything they wanted could have been passed without republican support, so you can stow that excuse.

    The fact that it wasn’t tells us that this wasn’t about helping people like your friend. This was about the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world and exploiting the problems like your friend’s to get it accomplished.

    Every democrat politician in congress knew that Obama continually lied when he told the American people they could keep their health insurance if they liked it and they will pay for their complicity in that lie.

  3. Submitted by Lucie Shores on 11/26/2013 - 02:04 am.

    Healthcare; finally!

    Today I am feeling better about our country than I have since moving home from Austria in 1984. At that time I had experienced a foreign health system that took care of whatever was needed for myself and my family for eight years. At that time I lived across the street from the medical practice of the Austrian soccer team’s  doctor, so when I hurt my back helping my husband build a set for a play I was allowed to use the Austrian soccer team’s specialist to work on my back. No questions asked as long as I was employed in the Austrian system.

    When I had my second child I was given 18 months off because of complications and when the baby came we were given two layettes; one for an infant and one for an 18 month -old child.   A huge plus for a new mother was the pediatrician who came to the apartment where we lived near the Vienna woods at the time.  She travelled for at least an hour to get there and was always careful to make sure I understood everything because we were conversing in German.  She lifted my spirits by telling me she had never seen such a well-prepared new mother who “did everything right”.  And she was perfect for my older son as well, coming to the surgery with us and visiting soon after  his tonsillectomy.  

    As of yesterday I have hopes that such a caring system may begin to be built in this state, if not in the country as a whole.  

    Before this, I endured a lifelong genetic condition without hope of sufficient treatment because of the cost of insurance and the relative ignorance of the medical profession of something called Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome.  Because of this condition I suffered an aortic aneurism and dissection from which 95% who have it will die.  I just got lucky, (and also was not expecting to die at that time so I think part of my recovery was made possible by pure force of expecting to carry on with my appointment calendar.)  The first place I was seen did not have advanced technology and could not detect my problem.  In undergoing emergency open heart surgery, two weeks in the ICU, recovery and physical therapy, I incurred bills of over $175,000.  Luckily the hospital foundation covered those expenses.  As a lifelong musician, piano teacher, full-time mother and sometimes musical director, I had little insurance and no savings.  

    I found that in becoming destitute through medically incurred debts, I was finally eligible for medicaid.  When I was divorced the Minnesota statutes governing spousal support were ignored in favor of a mediation agreement that was never fully honored.  Again I had insufficient income and no insurance.  I was able to get SSI and finally MNcare, and when I remarried last year, that eligibility was carried to Oregon, but when I came back to Minnesota to live, I was no longer eligible because I was married.

    Two weeks ago I suffered torn ligaments while on blood-thiners and lost a quantity of blood.  I received three units of blood before I could be stabilized during that five-day hospitalization.  I am working at healing from the hematomas left by much internal bleeding.
    I registered for MNsure and discovered I qualify for MNcare which will help cover recent emergencies.  

    After genetic testing and diagnosis at the University of Minnesota, we know that other members of my family suffer from Ehler’s -Danlos as well.  We know the policy that was in place when my mother died last year in an area nursing home did not make allowances for her special needs, requiring her to go through physical therapy on a daily basis.  This caused her already weak tissues to reject an earlier surgical implant and her tisues to began to break down at an increased rate.  

    I have nothing but praise for the healthcare initiative and for the states choosing to implement it as fully as possible.   It eases my mind as I age to know that perhaps this country is becoming less hard-hearted when it comes to folks who do the best they can, but who still need systems that are fair and just to ensure some kind of qualty of life.  

    My boys are all very gainfully employed as senior software engineers, but they have the same genetic concerns, as well as normal concerns of having and raising families in increasingly difficult times.  It is high time that the richest country in the world be willing to provide at least one safety net that would cover everyone.  We are a rich nation, but until we recognize the scandal of wealth being hoarded by a miniscule percentage of the population and begin working to change that, we will never really be a democracy again.  The healthcare initiative is a first step in unlocking resources, assets and power being hidden, wasted, hoarded by the few.   In a democracy, everyone needs to have a vote, some power and receive the benefits.

    It again feels good to be part of a state and a country committed to providing for the common welfare!

  4. Submitted by rolf westgard on 11/26/2013 - 11:48 am.

    Thank you Mary Jo

    for speaking out about the benefits from the much needed ACA.
    The woman who is the primary care giver for our disabled daughter is also benefiting from the opportunity provided by Obamacare. No simple piece of legislation was there; millions needed the ACA.

  5. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/26/2013 - 12:33 pm.


    What Dennis leaves out of his post is that, hysterics aside, health care did not change for 350 million Americans. Most people already have coverage through their jobs and that status didn’t change at all. A few million have to give up their plans because they’re simply junk–they don’t do anything more than unnecessarily suck money from people’s pockets. Even if we didn’t have ACA, those plans were on their way to getting banned as scams.

    What did change were the millions of people who prior to ACA didn’t have any plan at all. They now have coverage and can get medical treatment for ailments of all kinds, including preventative care that will help keep small inexpensive problems from becoming large costly ones.

    It’s still not universal healthcare, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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