Supporters tout Affordable Care Act's benefits in DuluthOn the second day of the online health insurance exchanges that are the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, a group of the plan’s supporters gathered in Duluth to trumpet its benefits, despite technical glitches that initially plagued online systems in Minnesota and other states.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
On the second day of the online health insurance exchanges that are the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, a group of the plan’s supporters gathered in Duluth to trumpet its benefits, despite technical glitches that initially plagued online systems in Minnesota and other states.
The act provides free access to benefits such as PAP tests, mammograms and preventive screenings. Morgan Park resident Kassie Helgerson a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, said such a law would have helped her deal with ongoing health problems she suffered. She spoke at the news conference held by Organizing for
Helgerson, 45, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in an emergency room 15 years ago. She had started experiencing symptoms a year earlier, and they had become intense during the previous four or five months. The illness cost her job, then she lost her house. But although she knew she needed medical help she didn’t seek it, she said, because she had no insurance and couldn’t afford to see a doctor.
“Had I had access to all those services years ago, my life would have been significantly different,” Helgerson said.
Helgerson was one of four people who spoke during a news conference on Wednesday at Duluth Labor Temper sponsored by OFA-MN,
a nonprofit formed to advocate President Obama’s legislative policies.
They spoke against the backdrop of a public that, according to many polls, is still skeptical of the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010. A CNN poll released Tuesday reported 52 percent of respondents thought the health-care exchanges that opened that day were “a recipe for disaster,” although 45 percent said they thought the system eventually would work.
Minnesota’s version of the insurance marketplace, known as MNsure, got off to an uneven start. On the first day the MNsure site often was inaccessible, and when users were able to log on they encountered significant glitches. The Associated Press cited a Shoreview man who tried at least 10 times to create an online account without success.
But Karl Landskroener, another speaker at Wednesday’s news conference, said people should consider the bigger picture. The 22-year-old Minneapolis resident, who is volunteering for OFA-MN, said many of the worries about the act are being manufactured by opponents.
“We’re against a very well-funded opposition that keeps hammering away at the same message,” he said.
The recent college graduate said he is among those benefiting from a provision of Obamacare, able to remain on his parents’ health insurance plan while he looks for work.