Al Franken Talks Health Insurance, Obamacare with Tea Party Members
The video starts out looking like a bad day for Senator Al Franken. He’s surrounded by a group of people who pretty much look exactly like who you’d cast if you were making a movie about Tea Party people: white, mostly doughy individuals with an average age somewhere around 55.
One woman, wearing a Tea Party t-shirt, starts off the video by asking Franken, “Are you gonna vote the way the people want, the people who elected you, or are you gonna vote their voice, or are you gonna vote how Obama wants you to vote?”
After telling her, “I’m going to vote how I want to vote.” You can see the look of surprise, and perhaps dismay, on her face before he continues, “And let me tell you how I decide how I vote: I use my independent judgment, and I don’t always just go by polls.”
He then thanks her for her passion before launching into a mini master class on health insurance costs, the public option and why Obamacare, while not a perfect solution, will go a long way in solving some of the issues we face as a country.
“We all want reform,” he tells them, and this seems to be the first true point of connection. The Tea Party shirted lady even nods in agreement. And really, that’s not a surprise. “Repeal and replace” has been the battle cry of Conservatives, so even they readily admit that the current system is unsustainable and needs some kind of reform.
“So the question is, how do you do it?” Franken continues. He cites Switzerland as an example: A country with universal healthcare, with no public option.
“It doesn’t have a public option; it has private insurance, but those private insurance companies are very, very regulated. So, for example, if you have a pre-existing condition, an insurance company in Switzerland can’t deny you health insurance, and they can’t charge you more. And that’s what this bill is doing,” Franken says. “And I’m for that, because when I went around Minnesota, there were about three things I heard: One, health care costs too much, we all agree on that. Two, people would tell me, ‘I’m scared to death that one of my kids will get sick’ or they would tell me, ‘One of my kids does has a pre-existing condition, and I can’t leave my job. Because if I leave my job and start the small business that I want to start, I’ll never get health insurance, because I have a child with a pre-existing condition.’
“So we want to get rid of that, and I think almost everyone is on board on this. On almost 80 percent of this health care bill, I think there’s common agreement.”
Here is where the woman who asked him how he’d vote in the beginning starts to shake her head, although she was on board with the specific points Franken was making.
This is an important point, because polling has shown that while many people still say they dislike Obamacare, when you present them with key measures found in the bill, they say they are in favor of them: such as not denying individuals with pre-existing conditions, allowing children to stay on their parents plans longer, and maintaining the requirement that companies employing more than 50 workers must offer health insurance.
Franken then further steps it up by offering the following statistics:
- More than half the people who go bankrupt in America go bankrupt because of “the health care crisis.”
- 80 percent of those people who go bankrupt because of medical bills actually have health insurance. “Now, that doesn’t happen in other countries,” Franken says.
- A focus on preventive care will save money
It’s a compelling watch, and something that other Democrats should take a look at, as it proves that a calm and rational accounting of the data can have a strong effect, even on those who disagree with you.
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