Close to 81 percent of registered voters, including Republicans and Democrats in poll after poll, support health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

“Candidates of both parties are on record as embracing a key tenant of Obamacare,” note editors of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune who quote portions of a previous editorial in the Washington Post.

Even Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson is in favor of protecting those with pre-existing conditions.

GOP candidates are on the defensive, denying Democratic charges that the GOP plans to eliminate Obamacare’s provision making it unlawful for insurance companies to deny coverage to those with a history of cancer or chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

“Republicans set this trap for themselves by trying to repeal Obamacare in its entirety last year,” said Star-Tribune editors. “When that failed, they weakened the individual mandate by zeroing out the tax penalty, thus endangering people on the individual market.”

The GOP bill, signed by Donald Trump, takes effect in 2019 and eliminates the individual mandate for not having health insurance.

Simple economics requires sharing those elevated risks among the highest possible pool. And that, note both the Star Tribune and Washington Post, “is everyone.”

Insurers need plenty of healthy consumers who pay premiums, but don’t use much care, in order to subsidize the sick.

When in 2019 healthy people drop out of the health insurance market because they are no longer mandated to have coverage, insurers will need to raise rates.

“Despite its flaws, Obamacare presented a plausible means of achieving health insurance the public clearly wants,” said Star Tribune editors in closing.

Rural Vergas retiree met Bobby Kennedy in 1968

A half century ago, in 1968 during the presidential campaign, Dave Asleson who now lives in rural Vergas was a student at Moorhead State College (now MSUM) who worked part-time at the Fargo Civic Center.

Visiting Fargo, prior to his tragic assassination, was Democratic candidate Bobby Kennedy, U.S. senator from New York and younger brother of slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Asleson, who worked out west for the U.S. Forest Service during his working years, recalls meeting Bobby Kennedy a half century ago.

He also had some very interesting and tense moments with the Secret Service.

“The year 1968 was a turbulent year with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and a bitter election,” Asleson recalls. “I was working part-time at the Fargo Civic Center during special events.

“I was a Kennedy fan. It so happened that I was out in the foyer of the auditorium when he entered the Civic Center shortly before the fund-raising event. He entered alone though I imagine there were Secret Service personnel behind him.

“I shook his hand and wished him ‘Good Luck.’

“One thing that surprised me is that he was a diminutive man, several inches shorter than me.

“Later that election year, presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey also came to the Civic Center for a fund-raising dinner. My buddy John Jones and I were late getting to work, and our boss immediately sent us down to the basement to get some more dishes for the dinner.

“Because we were late, we did not get the lapel pin that identified us as Civic Center employees. As we stepped outside the elevator in the basement, John and I were immediately surrounded by Secret Service men and Fargo police and hauled over to the Fargo police department next door for interrogation.

“John and I were interrogated separately, but I could hear him. I thought my goose was cooked when I heard his answer when he told them his name in his typical drawl…’John Jones.’

“However, his aunt (who was the concessions manager) stormed over to the station and rescued us, reminding the Fargo police that they knew us and always tried to con us to give them free coffee whenever there were events. Hard to believe that was 50 years ago.”

Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.

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