Vol. 12    No. 15
JULY
24, 2017
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                 The Future of Obamacare
Before I get started on this week’s column, let me send a hearty congratulation to Amadou Kromah who won a silver medal in photography at
the NAACP National ACT-SO Competition. Taking second place in a national competition in his first try is quite an accomplishment.
I’m not sure of the first time that I met Amadou taking photos. But when I needed a photographer to take photos at the AVID/TOPS graduation
celebration in 2016, I hired Amadou to take the photos and he delivered quite well.

And then I noticed Amadou taking photos at the 75th birthday party of Kathy Johnson last June. And then I began noticing him more often at
various community events taking photos. He popped up at the Drumline USA performance at the Overture Center this spring as Overture’s
official photographer.

Frances Huntley-Cooper, the chair for the NAACP Dane County ACT-SO Committee also noticed Amadou at the Overture event and she actively
recruited Amadou to compete. And the rest is history, as they say.

If my memory serves me correctly, Amadou becomes the second person from the Madison area to win a medal from the National ACT-SO
Competition. I think Adebanke Lesi earned a bronze medal for Poetry – Written at the 1998 ACT-SO Competition held in Atlanta, Georgia.
Adebanke is now a medical doctor out in the Los Angeles area.

And so Amadou joins some pretty esteemed company. And since he has another year to go at La Follette High School, Amadou can give it
another shot next year to go for the gold in San Antonio. Go ahead Amadou!

***

I am a pretty fortunate person, I must admit. In approximately one week, I will become an official Medicare enrollee for my primary health
insurance. It’s something that I have been working for, whether I realized it or not, for the past 50 years as I and my employers have been
kicking in 1.45 percent of my wages toward Medicare. At least for the present moment, my health insurance should be secure because it isn’t
in the immediate sights of the Republican conservatives, which doesn’t mean that they don’t want to abolish it or place it under the direct
influence or control of Wall Street.

But for now, I am protected although there are approximately 23 million Americans who could lose their health insurance all together if the
Republicans find a majority and manage to repeal Obamacare.

One of the holdouts on Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare in the Senate has been U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). But don’t think for a
minute that Johnson has a softness in his heart for poor people and the disabled. He would like to repeal Obamacare and not necessarily
replace it.

In an article in the Wisconsin State Journal, Johnson is quoted as saying that Obamacare is the “greatest assault on freedom in our lifetime.” I’
m not sure which right Ron Johnson is talking about. Perhaps it is the right to die without healthcare. Or maybe it is the right to go broke and
declare bankruptcy because one has a debilitating or pre-existing condition. Or maybe he is talking about his right as a business owner to
make as huge of a profit as he can by not providing health insurance as a fringe benefit.

Last week on Facebook page, I posted a photo of some Republican senators with the caption that they were a Republican death panel,
especially if they repeal Obamacare this week. They will cut 23 million people off of health insurance and surely thousands will die as a result.
Sarah Palin created the myth of Death Panels in opposition to Obamacare when it was being considered back in 2010. I don’t hear her
screaming now. But make no mistake about it, the Republican Senators would be a death panel. They can say they are striking a blow for
freedom, but that is nonsense and a cleaver way of not facing up to their own responsibility for the death of thousands of their fellow citizens.
That is greed and not leadership.

I wish that one day that the Republicans and conservatives would realize that America would be better off actually with a single payer health
insurance plan modeled after the Medicare program that I am about to enter. If everyone has and uses health insurance, just imagine all of the
productivity that would happen as people can afford to visit the doctor and take the prescriptions that they provide. We all benefit when the
least among us become healthier through access to health insurance. Why can’t the Republicans and the conservatives care about us instead
of the imposition of their ideologies, whether they are grounded in facts or not.

I hope one day that the Republicans and the Democrats start acting like the leaders that we expect them to be and stop playing games and
work together to correct the flaws in the current version of Obamacare. In that way, they will begin to serve, once again, we the people!
Amadou Kromah