At the opening bell of Obamacare for the world, President Obama gave a speech in the Rose Garden talking about how the new health care system will prevent discrimination against those who have previous health issues. One of them was a woman who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.
The Obamas are no stranger to the ravages of MS. Michelle Obama's father lived all his life with MS, and both of them have often talked about his brave fight agains the disease while raising a family.
Amanda Barrett stood just behind and to the left of the president during the speech. She worked at the journalist/jobs site Mediabistro until a couple years ago and then went to her home in Washington, D.C. to take care of her sick parents.
The president told Amanda’s health care story:
"Let me just tell folks a few stories that are represented here today. A few years ago, Amanda Barrett left her job in New York to take care of her parents. And for a while, she had temporary insurance that covered her multiple sclerosis. But when it expired, many insurers wouldn’t cover her because of her MS. And she ended up paying $1,200 a month. That’s nowhere near affordable. So starting today, she can get covered for much less, because today’s new plan can’t use your medical history to charge you more than anybody else."
The president also blamed Republicans for the government shutdown, noting the “irony” that the healthcare program they were trying to kill is “open for business.”
“This shutdown isn’t about spending or deficit or budgets,” Obama said. “This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don’t have it. This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days.”