President Obama, declaring that “every argument has been made” on his health care overhaul, sought to seal the deal with Congress and the American people on Monday by focusing on a single patient: a self-employed cleaning woman who had dropped her costly insurance plan, only to discover she had leukemia....
After weeks of making his case for the legislation in broad strokes — including two similar rallies last week in Philadelphia and St. Charles, Mo. — Mr. Obama used Monday’s appearance to pivot to the personal, as he recounted the story of the cleaning woman, Natoma Canfield — a health care drama that could not have been better scripted for his purposes if he had written it himself.
Ms. Canfield, of nearby Medina, wrote Mr. Obama at the end of December to say that she had been treated for cancer 16 years ago and had been cancer-free for 11 years. But with her premiums rising — she paid more than $6,705.24 in 2009 and had just received notification of a 40 percent increase — she decided to drop her coverage. The president read her letter aloud to a meeting of insurance executives this month, and had hoped Ms. Canfield would introduce him when he appeared here.
Instead, Ms. Canfield’s sister family introduced the president, as Mr. Obama explained to the crowd that, after collapsing last week and being rushed to the hospital, Ms. Canfield had received a new cancer diagnosis on Saturday.
“The reason Natoma is not here today is that she’s lying in a hospital bed, suddenly faced with this emergency — suddenly thrust into a fight for her life,” Mr. Obama said. “She expects to face a month or more of aggressive chemotherapy. And she is racked with worry not only about her illness but about the cost of the tests and treatments she will surely need to beat it.”
The crowd grew momentarily silent, and the president added: “So you want to know why I’m here, Ohio? I’m here because of Natoma.”
In fact, Ms. Canfield was hardly the only reason Mr. Obama came to Ohio.
But there were some protesters outside the hall, and inside, Mr. Obama also faced some hecklers, a rarity at his appearances. At one point, when Mr. Obama warned that health insurance premiums are going up, a woman shouted, “Taxes are, too!”
At another, during a lull in the president’s remarks, a man hollered: “What’s your plan? Jobs!” (Mr. Obama later answered, saying, “Somebody asked what’s our plan? Let me describe exactly what we’re doing.”)
Under Obamacare, it would be illegal for Ms. Canfield to drop her health insurance, and the taxpayers would subsidize her legally required insurance policy. But not until 2014. I suspect Ms. Canfield can't wait that long. The Republican plan, on the other hand, would immediately subsidize or initiate state high-risk pools, and can also be expected to lower, rather than raise, individual insurance costs.
"Cleveland Clinic will not put a lien on her home," he said.