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Obamacare provides a valuable safety net

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor: I am writing about the article in Wednesday’s Mercury, “Pence, Obama in dueling meetings at Capitol on health care.”
I am a Republican, and I, too, was very opposed to the Affordable Care Act. I was afraid of “death panels,” government overreach and freeloaders — until I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
I am in remission, but still realize that I will be completely uninsurable if the preexisting condition clause disappears. Our state’s uninsured population has dropped by 35 percent from 2010: 37,000 Kansas residents use the health exchange, and one-third of our population uses Medicaid or Medicare.
Before Obamacare, half of all bankruptcies were due to medical bills. How as a country can we allow people to lose their livelihood due to medical bills? GOP lawmakers’ position on health care is an absolute assault on people in the lower middle class, including low-wage full-time workers, young families and our very vulnerable elderly.
Decent health insurance helps our citizens rise above the poverty line to the middle class, and allows people to get off food stamps and out of subsidized housing.
In our state, you can only be eligible for Medicaid if you have children. This is unfortunate because most people near the poverty line are working full-time or multiple parttimes jobs that just are not well-paying jobs with benefits. Kansas is essentially incentivizing these folks to have children that they cannot afford.
Don’t these hardworking folks deserve health insurance?
Is it not better to have a healthy workforce with insurance rather than incentivize people to have children and live below the poverty line and thus be eligible for Medicaid? Shannon O’Connell 5661 Blue River Road

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