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President Obama Discussed Affordable Care Act in Milwaukee

President Obama arrived at Mitchell International Airport just before noon in Milwaukee.

Obama was met by Shawn J. Gaffney, Colonel, Mission Support Group Commander, Rebecca Kleefisch, Lt Governor, Mayor Tom Barrett and Chris Abele, County Executive.

A spokeswoman for Gov Scott Walker said he was unable to greet Obama due to a previous commitment.

The President is having lunch with ACA letter writers at Engine Company 3 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Participants in the lunch include:Brent Brown, Karen George, Karen and Sharon Szysko and Susan Campbell. 

On the way in, he stopped to talk with diners. One woman appeared to be moved to tears as she spoke with him.

One woman asked him about whether he and the First Lady plan to move back to Chicago after he finishes his term.

“It always feels good being closer to home,”Obama said.

One of the women at the table suggested that Hawaii was his home.

“Hawaii is home for me,” but the President suggested that his real home was Chicago. 

“I spent almost 30 years in Chicago,” he said, noting it was also Michelle’s hometown.

"We haven't figured that out yet," the President said.

He added that they don't want Sasha to have to transfer during high school, so they plan to stay in DC for a while longer. (Will send transcribed quote soon.)

Shortly after 1:15 p.m., the President waved to the cheering crowd and climbed into his vehicle. As the motorcade drove off, dozens more people could be seen waiting to see him on nearby street corners.

After a short drive, the motorcade stopped at the United Community Center.

The gym was packed with people, and colorful signs hanging on the walls over the entrances read, "Welcome to United Community Center President Obama" and "Bienvenidos a United Community Center President Obama.

Before the event, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett briefly spoke to the crowd and introduced the recently-released video about Milwaukee winning the Healthy Communities Challenge contest.

The video got cheers and applause when it mentioned that some 89,000 people in the Milwaukee area are now enrolled.

Barrett joked that if the short film had been released earlier, it could have won an Oscar for best documentary.

A large United States flag and a large Wisconsin flag hung behind the stage .

Obama said in his speech 20 million have signed up for Affordable Care Act, and during the initiative 90,000 signed up in Milwaukee.

"This is the lowest rate of uninsured since we started keeping these records," said Obama.

He said Milwaukee came out on top and received bragging rights this year. 

"Your governor refuses to expand Medicaid in this state. And we could expand coverage to 21,000. Which would save money," said Obama."You have proved that what Americans care about is not political points."

In June, Brent Brown – from Mosinee, Wisconsin – wrote the President a letter about the Affordable Care Act. Brent explained that he didn’t vote for the President in either election – in fact, he actively campaigned against him. But after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and draining his bank account to the point where he could no longer afford the care he needed, Brent says the Affordable Care Act saved his life.

Karen George wrote to the President in August about her family’s story, their struggles and successes, and the ways in which the policies pursued by the President – from the Affordable Care Act to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) – have helped make things a little easier for them. Originally from West Allis, Wisconsin, the Georges recently moved to Springfield, Illinois. Karen wrote: “Your presidency has had a direct, important, personal impact on our lives.”

Karen Szyszko sent a letter in March to the President on behalf of the Szyszko family to thank him for the Affordable Care Act, which allowed Karen’s sister Sharon to get ankle surgery she needed but had to put off for years. Today, Sharon is without pain and according to Karen “a walking testament” to the President’s “understanding and care for all Americans.”

Susan Campbell, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, wrote to the President in February of 2015 as a relatively healthy adult whose basic medical expenses had previously threatened to wipe her out financially. Through the Affordable Care Act, her expenses have become much more manageable, something that makes her feel empowered. In her letter, Susan cautions against those seeking to overturn the law, stating that doing so would prevent her from ever seeking medical attention again. During the most recent open enrollment, Susan served as an ACA Ambassador – individuals who had written the President to thank him for the ACA and wanted to share their stories with others. Susan wrote a letter to other Milwaukee residents, sharing her experience and encouraging them to spread the word about open enrollment.

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