In advance of President Obama’s visit to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to honor the city for winning the President’s Health Communities Challenge, the White House released a letter sent to Obama by a lifelong Wisconsin Republican named Brent Brown. Mr. Brown admits to the President that he had twice voted against him and was very vocal in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
And he apologized for it.
Brent Brown has a pre-existing condition. Like over 650,000 people in the two years leading up to the launch of the Affordable Care Act, Brown was unable to purchase health insurance. It wasn’t until the ACA became the law of the land in 2014 that Brown was able to join the growing ranks of the insured. He explains to the President in no uncertain terms what that meant to him:
Obama’s Plan Is Working
Brent Brown’s story is not unique though the gracious fashion in which he reached out to the President may be. Despite a well-funded campaign against the law by right wing extremists and the Koch Brothers, and a clumsy launch by the rollout, the plain truth of the matter is that the Affordable Care Act is working. There are fewer uninsured Americans than at any point in history. Health care cost increases have slowed to the lowest point in over fifty years. And as Brent Brown can attest, Americans are no longer being denied coverage due to a pre-existing health condition. In short: more people are alive because of the Affordable Care Act.
“Thank You For Being My President”
It’s rare in modern times to see somebody openly admit that they were wrong on hot-button issues. The nobility that Brent Brown of Mosinee, Wisconsin displayed should serve as an inspiration to all Americans, especially those of us who regularly engage in political discourse that more often than not can grow heated. And few debates over the last decade ran hotter than the fate of Obamacare.
Yet Brown’s poignant perspective should help us all realize the goal of the ACA was not to screw either the people or the insurance industry. It was to make and keep Americans healthy. Brett Brown personifies those goals, and their achievement in his letter to the President:
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
Thank YOU, Mr. Brown, for being our citizen.
We’re honored to live alongside you, and hope to do so for many years to come!