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Letter: Green needs to review stand on Obama Care

Last week I wrote a letter to the Detroit Lakes newspaper discussing my health insurance enrollment process with MNsure. Imagine my surprise, when reading the Dec. 4 paper, to see that State Representative Steve Green sent a letter to the editor saying that as of Dec. 1, 2013, no Minnesotan has been able to complete the enrollment process through MNsure. Knowing that he is an important person with high political connections, I figured he should know more about these things than a not-so-important, retired guy from Detroit Lakes, I immediately went into panic mode thinking I must not have a policy.

The first thing I did was look at my Driver’s License to verify that I was still a Minnesota resident. Second, I called my new insurance company and sure enough I did have a policy with them and they had accepted my payment for the first month. How could this be? Is it possible that a duly elected State Representative may have no idea what is really going on with an important Minnesota program? I know our representatives are very busy people so I thought, “Is it possible he has never actually used the program or went out of his way to talk to someone who has?” Certainly he would not play politics with something as precious as my personal health and the ability to get needed medical care. As I try to be a reasonable person, I made the assumption that he just wasn’t well informed and that it may be helpful if I reiterated parts of my personal experience for him.

  1. Yes, Steven, there is enrollment in MNsure. I know because I went through the process and I am enrolled. (Prior to Dec. 1)
  2. Yes, Steven, the costs of health insurance are going up but it has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans. It is for the same reason that Health Insurance costs have always gone up — the big business of Health Care in the United States continues to raise prices at a faster rate than just about anything else.
  3. Yes, Steven, some people are forced to give up their old polices. This is because they do not meet the minimum requirements that were established by a blue ribbon panel of medical people commissioned by the President. They are, however, as the direct result of Obama Care, able to get a new policy even if they have existing problems. If they have a similar experience as I did in giving up their old policy they will actually end up saving money. It is not the government that cancelled these policies but the private insurance companies. My guess is that this decision was simply based on mathematical formulas that showed it was cheaper and easier to establish new polices than fix the old ones.
  4. Yes, Steven, you are able to get a new policy that allows you to keep the same doctor and health care providers. MNsure allowed me to compare as many as 64 plans from four different companies and I got exactly what I wanted. If you are unable to afford insurance there is immediate help available that can bring your insurance costs down far enough so you are paying less for a better policy. This option never existed before Obama Care.

This whole issue of outrage over old policies being cancelled seems somewhat disingenuous to me. Where was this outrage before Obama Care when policies were cancelled because they reached the spending limits and now you were on your own? Where was this outrage when 47 percent of the bankruptcies in the United States were from people who had no insurance or such inadequate insurance it didn’t cover the huge costs that health problems built up in a short period of time. If you buy a $200,000 house you don’t insure it for $50,000, if you buy a $25,000 car you make sure you have liability and collision at a minimum to cover the costs of an accident. We don’t like paying for insurance but it is a necessary evil to reduce our financial risks. Houses and cars can actually be replaced but if you are turned away from medical care for lack of health insurance (don’t fool yourself, this does happen) your body and health cannot be replaced. Obama Care has made this process of adequately caring for our health much easier and affordable on a personal level.

Representative Green, I hope my personal experience can be of some assistance to you in reviewing your stand on MNsure. I realize this may involve some degree of compromise on your part but I would hope that you are also interested in representing less affluent people from your district. Many of them have already been helped tremendously by this wonderful program. I can guarantee you that repealing Obama Care will only hurt millions of people who already depend on this program. — Donald Johnson, Detroit Lakes