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Commentary: Obamacare has been a lifesaver

Jim Shaw

FARGO — Recently, Forum News Service columnist Rob Port wrote a commentary where he (surprise, surprise) criticized North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. The headline was: "What Heidi Heitkamp Isn't Talking About: Obamacare Didn't Improve the Uninsured Problem and it Didn't Make Insurance Cheaper." I beg to differ...

— I am not writing about Heitkamp. I am writing about my son Brad Shaw. Brad is a hard working young man and a graduate of the University of Nebraska. He currently has three part-time jobs. He works at least 40 hours a week.

Up until he was 26, Brad was on my wife's employer health insurance plan. It gave him excellent coverage. Allowing children under 26 to be covered on their parents health insurance is a terrific provision of the Affordable Care Act. It has certainly helped our family.

Brad turned 26 last October and had to find a new health insurance policy. In none of his jobs does he work enough hours to qualify for an employer health insurance plan, so he had to find another option. Obamacare was the only option. Brad was able to purchase a good health insurance plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield for just $130 a month, due to his relatively low income.

Without the Affordable Health Care Act, Brad would never have been able to afford decent health insurance. Moreover, it's a win-win. Brad is healthy as a horse, and hasn't needed to see a doctor in years. So, Blue Cross Blue Shield is making money off of him, but he's protected in case a medical need arises.

There are millions of Brad Shaws out there. According to Wikipedia, the percentage of uninsured since Obamacare was enacted has dropped by 40 percent. For Brad and the others, Obamacare has been a lifesaver.

— The response to my column criticizing Valley News Live's irresponsible news operation was overwhelmingly supportive. I heard from dozens of viewers, those who work in the news business, and those who used to work in the news business. I even heard secretly from several people who work at VNL, who thanked me for the column and said everything I wrote is true.

Former Valley News Live News Director John Rinkenbaugh wrote, "Great column, Jim. Ike isn't a journalist." Ike Walker is the news director.

Former Valley News Live News Director Griff Potter wrote, "Jim, as always your observations are insightful and provocative."

Charley Johnson, Rinkenbaugh, Potter and several others put together strong, informative and impartial newscasts for decades at KVLY-TV and KXJB-TV, which are the Valley News Live stations. I competed against them, and they kept me on my toes. Only under the current management did Valley News Live turn into a close relative of the National Enquirer.

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