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Column: Walz must address Obamacare issues

By Jim Hagedorn


MANKATO — Accompanied by First District residents Dave and Courtney Kruse of Mankato and Seth Becker of Fairmont, I held a news conference at the Mankato office of Democratic Congressman Tim Walz Dec. 12 to discuss Obamacare and how the act is negatively impacting southern Minnesotans.

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I called upon Walz to defend his liberal Obamacare vote and address the myriad of ways the law is causing genuine hardship for families and small businesses. As I crisscross the First District and talk with people of varied political viewpoints, southern Minnesotans complain of being forced to pay dramatically higher health insurance premiums and deductibles or having longstanding insurance policies canceled or being herded into government programs like Medicaid.

The escalating costs, frustration and uncertainty associated with Obamacare were outlined by Dave and Courtney Kruse. Pregnant with their fourth child, Courtney Kruse expressed deep concern about their family’s ability to afford the much higher costs under Obamacare. “Since we received notification that our current plan would no longer be available under the Affordable Care Act, our choices are higher premiums and higher out of pocket expenses,” she said. “For the first time, we are crunching numbers and wondering if we would be better off without an insurance plan for our growing family.”

Dave Kruse said his experience with the MNsure website has been both frustrating and fruitless. “The MNsure website has been a comedy of errors,” he said. “I mean actual errors, missing data and virtually no support. Finding the necessary information to make an informed choice seems impossible.”

In a recent Politico story, Walz was reported as bragging that “it took him just 19 minutes to sign up for Obamacare coverage.” That doesn’t square with the experience of Seth Becker, an independent insurance agent from Fairmont.

Becker has been working virtually around the clock assisting clients who are attempting to secure Obamacare coverage. “I work with customers on a daily basis who have spent days, going on weeks, attempting to sign up for insurance on the MNsure website. People are frustrated, apprehensive and worried that they won’t have the coverage they need when they need it, or that they won’t be able to keep their existing doctor,” he said. “Insurance agents across Minnesota are experiencing the same concerns from their clients.”

People are frustrated and want answers, yet Congressman Walz seems out-of-touch and, frankly, lacking in compassion. Between the bungled and botched rollout of Obamacare on Oct. 1 and Dec. 12, Tim Walz issued 18 partisan press releases, none of which even mentioned Obamacare or the struggles endured by his constituents.

It’s important to remember who caused these problems. Obamacare was enacted because liberal members of Congress, including Tim Walz, accepted Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s advice and voted for the bill to find out what was in the bill. Now, almost four years later, the people of southern Minnesota are realizing that their congressman has left them with the bill.

Walz should be held accountable for promising that Obamacare would allow people to keep their current doctors and health care plans. Tim Walz made false representations to justify his vote for Obamacare — a vote that has led to aggravation, financial hardship and uncertainty for the very people he is paid to represent. The trust between Walz and his constituents has been broken.

Obamacare’s “big government” devastation will likely expand as other aspects of the law are implemented. Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing just the ‘Tip of the Obamacare Iceberg.’ The law is so encompassing and fatally flawed that I believe Obamacare must be completely repealed and replaced with commonsense free-market reforms to drive down costs and sustain the quality of U.S. medical care as the world’s best.

Jim Hagedorn is a candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s First Congressional District.