Wisconsin native and life-long Republican Brent Brown, 33, has long suffered with "a serious autoimmune disease" but has finally "kicked it to the curb" thanks to finding coverage under the Affordable Care Act. He wrote to President Obama thanking him for saving his life and explained how he was "so very wrong" about ever voicing opposition against Obamacare. Though Obama is exploiting Brown's story to give Obamacare a positive spin, the experiences of millions of Brown's neighbors aren't so rosy.
From Brown's letter to the president:
I did not vote for you. Either time. I have voted Republican for the entirety of my life. I proudly wore pins and planted banners displaying my Republican loyalty. I was very vocal in my opposition to you -- particularly the ACA. Before I briefly explain my story allow me to first say this: I am so very sorry. I was so very wrong.
You saved my life. My President, you saved my life, and I am eternally grateful.
I have a 'pre-existing condition' and so could never purchase health insurance. Only after the ACA came into being could I be covered. Put simply to not take up too much of your time if you are in fact taking the time to read this: I would not be alive without access to care I received due to your law. Thank you for serving me even when I didn't vote for you. Thank you for being my President.
President Obama just so happened to be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Thursday to congratulate its citizens for participating in the Healthy Communities Challenge and signing up so many for health care. He also invited Brown to address the crowd about his success story. Brown said he had finally found "hope" thanks to the Affordable Care Act and believed it to be the start of "America [taking] care of her own."
But is that true for anyone else in the state?
What is missing from this single-story celebration is the fact that the rest of Wisconsin is feeling the pinch of Obamacare. Forty-one percent (nearly 2.5 million) of Wisconsinites have said that their health care has become more expensive over the last two years. Add to that Republican Gov. Scott Walker's state suing the Obama administration over Health Insurance Providers Fees totaling over $23 million. These fees were originally to be imposed on providers but the administration has determined that Wisconsin, as well as five other states that have joined the lawsuit, are now responsible for those fees. Estimates project that future "fees" coerced by the federal government will be billions of dollars higher.
Watchdog.org notes that the state already had a plan in place to help those without insurance that they are now being punished for: "Wisconsin and the other states in the lawsuit use for-profit managed care organizations to provide their low-income and child-based health insurance benefits. They are being punished for that, the lawsuit contends."
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has stated that he is "fighting vigorously against [the ACA's] attack on religious liberty, and the unlawful mandates, fees, and restrictions it imposes on taxpayers, employers and our state."
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has blamed the law for causing 1,200 Milwaukeeans to lose their jobs because major health insurers have been driven from the city.
After his appearance with the president, Brown told the Journal Sentinel that he is still holding on to his core values and indicated that it was his pro-life stance that kept him from supporting Obamacare. But it seems as though he has softened his position:
As a Republican, I was focused on pre-life, life in the womb. But we forget what happens afterward... when people are 20 or 30. They also deserve respect.
So, essentially he has traded one life for another. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, Obamacare "is hiding the massive taxpayer funding for abortion." Though Wisconsin is one of 25 states that have opted out of providing elective abortion coverage, they are still funding the procedure in other states through their federal taxes.