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Shaw: Obamacare has been a godsend for many

I don't usually respond to columns written by my colleagues at the Forum, but...

  • In this case I have to. Rob Port recently wrote that we were better off before Obamacare, and that we'd be better off by simply repealing it, without replacing it. North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread agreed with him. That column was erroneous and heartless. If Port and Godfread had their way, millions of more people would be suffering.

Obamacare has saved a lot of people from financial disaster, catastrophic illness, or death. It has made health insurance and proper medical treatment available to many people who couldn't afford it, or ill people who were denied insurance.

Here are just some of the advantages of Obamacare. First, it makes health insurance affordable for many low and middle income citizens. Second, children can be on the policies of their parents until age 26. Third, people with pre-existing conditions can't be denied coverage. Fourth, it eliminates the annual and lifetime caps for medical treatment costs that insurance companies used to impose. Fifth, about 57 million senior citizens are paying less for their premiums and prescription drugs. And sixth, preventative screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms are free of charge. Do Port and Godfread really want to take all these advances away?

Port and Godfread try to make the argument that Obamacare has failed because the uninsured rate has stayed the same. That's just not true. From 2010 (the last year before Obamacare) to 2016, the number of insured people increased by 20 million, while the uninsured percentage was almost cut in half. CNBC says the U.S. had a record low percentage of people uninsured in 2016. Bankruptcies are also way down.

We're also seeing those wonderful drops around here. According to Wikipedia and Business Insider, North Dakota's uninsured rate was nearly cut in half. It was 13.4 percent in 2010 and 6.9 percent in 2016. In Minnesota, it dropped to an astonishing 5.6 percent. Those figures are well below national averages.

Obamacare is a godsend for people like Ashley Seykora of Towner, N.D. Seykora was 31-years-old when diagnosed with advanced melanoma. She was given less than two years to live. A provision of Obamacare allowed her to get into a research trial that saved her life.

I think many people (I'm not saying Port and Godfread are among them) oppose Obamacare because it came from Barack Hussein Obama. You know, that Black liberal socialist Muslim from Kenya. Sure, Obamacare could be better. Premiums are still too high, and not everyone has insurance. So, let's improve it with a health care for all system, like the rest of the industrialized world. That would really be humane.

  • Thank you so much for voting me the best newspaper columnist in the Red River Valley. I am honored and flattered. I will try to continue to write provocative columns, where I can generate some thinking and discussion.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV new director. He can be heard Fridays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., on WDAY AM radio. Email jimshawtv@gmail.com

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