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What Obama didn’t mention at the Milwaukee Obamacare pep rally

By   /   March 4, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

MILWAUKEE – President Barack Obama’s Thursday pep rally for Obamacare came with lots of cheering, story-telling, and emotional testimonials – and that was just the mainstream media coverage.

But Obama, not surprisingly, failed to mention some of the flies in the ointment of his signature Affordable Care Act while congratulating Milwaukee for winning a national health insurance enrollment contest, the “Healthy Communities Challenge.” The city beat 19 other cities, adding 38,000 new health insurance participants, out of about 51,000 uninsured people who were eligible to enroll.

“I could not be prouder of you. God bless you Milwaukee,” the president told an adoring crowd at Bruce-Guadalupe Middle School’s United Community Center.

Obama gave the liberal Cheeseheads plenty to cheer about.

“All told, counting new folks and people renewing their coverage, you got nearly 90,000 people to sign up,” Obama said. “That’s enough to fill Lambeau Field and still have a big tailgating party with folks outside. And those tailgaters wouldn’t have to worry because Obamacare covers indigestion from too many brats.” Lambeau Field is the home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.

Photo by the Associated Press

LOST IN ELATION: President Barack Obama toasted Milwaukee Thursday for winning a national health care enrollment contest, but in all the celebration he forgot to mention the many warts of Obamacare.

But while he had time for jokes and jabs at Republicans for having the audacity to call for a better, more affordable solution to the nation’s rising health care costs, Obama failed to mention the other side of the “Affordable Care Act.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, did.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has not lived up to its name in Wisconsin or the rest of America,” said Johnson, who has been a leading proponent of repealing and replacing Obamcare. “In spite of President Obama’s repeated assurances,  millions of Americans and thousands of Wisconsinites lost health insurance they liked and could afford and have also lost access to doctors they trusted.

“For many, premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums have skyrocketed instead of being reduced by $2,500 per family per year as President Obama and other proponents of Obamacare also promised,” Johnson added in a statement.

A new report by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance notes the rising premium costs for individuals and families.

As Obama and his fans celebrated increased government dependency, the topic of Obamacare costing Milwaukee 1,200 jobs must have slipped the president’s mind.

Brian Sikma of Media Trackers pointed out the Affordable Care Act casualties in a piece titled “5 ways Obamacare failed Wisconsin.”

“Assurant Health, the Milwaukee-based individual health insurance arm of a national insurance company, announced in 2015 that it was closing, a move that cost 1,200 Milwaukee-area employees their jobs. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, “Assurant Inc. executives cited the challenges of running Assurant’s health-insurance business under the Affordable Care Act,” Sikma wrote.

Obama also neglected to mention the financial struggles of Wisconsin’s Obamacare co-ops.

“The Obama administration has been as transparent as mud about the financial health of Wisconsin’s Obamacare co-op, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative,” said Brett Healy, president of the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, in a statement issued before the president’s visit.

As MacIver points out, eight of 11 surviving Obamacare co-ops are in financial trouble, but in testimony last month before a House oversight subcommittee, Mandy Cohen, chief operating officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, refused to disclose which co-ops were floundering.

“President Obama is here to celebrate higher enrollment numbers for Obamacare in Wisconsin. But he is not being truthful about the enormous taxpayer losses at the government’s Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative,” Healy said.

“Wisconsinites deserve to know if Common Ground is on life support, terminally ill, or without a pulse.”

Such warts on the Obamacare story were lost in the mainstream’s effusive pieces on the legend of Obamacare. Such inconvenient truths were lost somewhere between the president’s tongue-lashing of Gov. Scott Walker for just saying no to a bucket of federal Medicaid money and the unfunded mandate strings that will come with it and the White House’s photo op with a Mosinee man – apparently a former critic of Obamacare – who now claims the Affordable Care Act saved his life.

Johnson wasn’t having any of the Milwaukee reverie.

“No wonder one in five Wisconsinites told researchers for Harvard and the widely respected Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that Obamacare has hurt them personally, with 41 percent of Wisconsinites saying their health care has grown more unaffordable over the past two years,” the senator said. “We need to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that preserve patient freedom and choice, constrains cost increases, and improves access to higher quality care.”


M.D. Kittle is bureau chief of Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment Reporter for Watchdog.org. Kittle is a 25-year veteran of print, broadcast and online media. He is the recipient of several awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and others. He is also a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors. Kittle's extensive series on Wisconsin's unconstitutional John Doe investigations was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze. His work has been featured in Town Hall, Fox News, NewsMax, and other national publications, and his reporting has been cited by news outlets nationwide. Kittle is a fill-in talk show host on the Jay Weber Show and the Vicki McKenna Show in Milwaukee and Madison.