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How Obamacare saved a Wisconsin Republican’s life

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Thank you for serving me when I didn’t vote for you.

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A Republican writes to the President after Obamacare saved his life.

The event to celebrate Milwaukee’s participation in and benefit from the Affordable Care Act was held at a packed community center inside Bruce Guadalupe Middle School, where about 780 people had gathered, according to school principal Santiago Navarro.

President Obama was introduced to the crowd by Brent Brown from Mosinee, Wisconsin. Brown, who had also joined the President for lunch before the event, said that he didn’t vote for Obama. In fact, he had actually campaigned against him. But Brown added that afterwards he was then diagnosed with a serious auto-immune disease and could not afford the surgeries he need.

Brown described himself as a “dead man walking,” but added, “then this guy signs this bill.”

“I can now say I had a serious autoimmune disease,” Brown said. “The Affordable Care Act saved my life. I want to repeat that. The Affordable Care Act saved my life.”

He also described himself as “a Republican who falsely accused him,” but said it was thanks to the President’s “fortitude” that “this chump gets a second shot at life.”

Brown called on the Republicans trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act to “do what is right.” He then added that it was his “great pleasure and honor” to introduce the President.

Read Brent Brown's Letter

To My President,

I sincerely hope that this reaches you, as far too often praise is hard to come by. Apologies to people who deserve it perhaps even less so.

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 understand written content cannot convey emotions very well–but my level of conviction has me in tears as I write this. I was so very wrong. So very very wrong.

You saved my life. I want that to sink into your ears and mind. 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.

So thank you from a dumb young man who thought he knew it all and who said things about you that he now regrets. Thank you for serving me even when I didn’t vote for you.

Thank you for being my President.

Honored to have lived under your leadership and guidance,

Brent Nathan Brown

Earlier, the President stopped at Engine Company 3 at the corner of 3rd Street & National Avenue to have lunch with ACA letter writers. Those who joined him for lunch include the following, according to these descriptions from the White House:

In June, Brent Brown – from Mosinee, Wisconsin – wrote the President a letter about the Affordable Care Act. Brent explained that he didn’t vote for the President in either election – in fact, he actively campaigned against him. But after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and draining his bank account to the point where he could no longer afford the care he needed, Brent says the Affordable Care Act saved his life.

Karen George wrote to the President in August about her family’s story, their struggles and successes, and the ways in which the policies pursued by the President – from the Affordable Care Act to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) – have helped make things a little easier for them. Originally from West Allis, Wisconsin, the Georges recently moved to Springfield, Illinois. Karen wrote: “Your presidency has had a direct, important, personal impact on our lives.”

Karen Szyszko sent a letter in March to the President on behalf of the Szyszko family to thank him for the Affordable Care Act, which allowed Karen’s sister Sharon to get ankle surgery she needed but had to put off for years. Today, Sharon is without pain and according to Karen “a walking testament” to the President’s “understanding and care for all Americans.”

Susan Campbell, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, wrote to the President in February of 2015 as a relatively healthy adult whose basic medical expenses had previously threatened to wipe her out financially. Through the Affordable Care Act, her expenses have become much more manageable, something that makes her feel empowered. In her letter, Susan cautions against those seeking to overturn the law, stating that doing so would prevent her from ever seeking medical attention again. During the most recent open enrollment, Susan served as an ACA Ambassador – individuals who had written the President to thank him for the ACA and wanted to share their stories with others. Susan wrote a letter to other Milwaukee residents, sharing her experience and encouraging them to spread the word about open enrollment.

About The Author

Lee Matz

Former Creative Director and Photojournalist for the Milwaukee Business Journal, Lee brings his years of international experience as a foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe. His list of awards include top honors from the Milwaukee Press Club. Lee proudly uses MCTS as the exclusive mode of transportation for covering all his news reports.

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