Over the past few months, I have featured James Kimber in a number of articles for this site. Kimber is the Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives in California’s 50th Congressional district. He is running against Republican incumbent Duncan Hunter. Initially, I wrote off any chance that Kimber would have at winning this seat, as the demographics and Hunter’s name recognition (thanks largely to his father) seemed to create too much of a deficit to overcome.
Anyway, there has been a concerted effort to get Hunter included in Bill Maher’s ‘Flip A District’ bracket. Hunter himself appeared on Maher’s show recently and reinforced the notion that he is nothing more than a Republican hack with no actual ideas. Meanwhile, Kimber has pounded the pavement, speaking personally to many of the district’s residents, whether they are Republican, Democrat or independent.
Throughout his campaign, Kimber has made sure to not shy away from the Affordable Care Act. In fact, he’s fully embraced the law and engaged people directly in conversation about the law’s benefits. Kimber provided me with some details about how he has been able to discuss the ACA in a positive manner to everyday citizens and make them see past their partisan objections to the law. By embracing the law, Kimber has been able to get others to embrace it as well.
Below is a story from Kimber regarding a young patient he saw, as well as the patient’s father. Kimber currently works as a healthcare provider and the patient’s father seemed disdainful of the health care law.
As a healthcare provider with 30 years experience, I am in a unique position to talk about healthcare and I never miss an opportunity to do so. All of my patients come from the district (CA-50) which spans 6,000 square miles and crosses two counties. Because most people in the district are Republicans, they all feel the need to express their opinion for ‘Obamacare’ but I’m equally comfortable answering their questions and dispelling the misinformation. Recently one of my patients was in for a follow-up and his father asked what I thought. The patient, a 17 year old had fallen from his skateboard with no helmet and suffered a broken skull with some bleeding on the brain. It sounds worse than it was; the boy actually only spent a couple of days in the hospital before going home.
He was now in for his first follow-up and doing fine. His father asked me “what do you think of ‘Obamacare’ (in sort of a snide tone). I knew what the father meant, so I told him: “I think I know what you think of ‘Obamacare’ so let me tell you what I think. I think your son will never get insurance”. That really got the dad’s attention. I then told him… “You son suffered a traumatic brain injury. It doesn’t get much worse than that. You took him to the hospital so it’s well documented and that will follow him around forever so he’ll never get insurance. Or, if he could get insurance it will be so expensive he won’t be able to afford it; or if he could afford it, it won’t provide him with all the coverage he would need. BUT, because of the Affordable Care Act, pre-existing conditions are a thing of the past and your son can get insurance.” The father was quiet for a minute or two and then looked at me and said “I never thought of it that way”.
Kimber also provided another example of changing a leery person’s mind. This person was actually antagonistic towards Kimber to start off, and Kimber was able to not only change his point of view, but actually assisted him with getting an affordable health plan.
I was at a Meet & Greet in Ramona (city within the 50th District). I was talking when a man who saw the crowd pulled his car over to see what was going on. He made his way up when he heard there was a “Democrat” speaking and he came directly up to me and exclaimed “I’m a Republican”. I told him that was great but he didn’t seem convinced so with a finger in my chest, he said again “NO, I’m really Republican!” And I replied back “okay, I really need your vote!”. And with that, I asked him what he wanted to discuss and he replied “healthcare”. I thought, great. This is perfect. The subject I enjoy talking about the most. So I asked him what kind of insurance he had and he told me he was uninsured. I couldn’t have asked for a better setup! He was mid 50′s, self-employed with a family and home. He takes care of his family, able to pay his bills but just can’t afford insurance for himself. We had a tablet with us and we were able to bring up the Covered CA website and in just a few steps we were able to show him how much it would cost him for a policy with good coverage. He was shocked when he found how little it would cost. The only thing he was upset about was that he couldn’t sign up right away – this was back in August and he was upset that he had to wait until October when the enrollment season opened up (he has since signed up for coverage and is still very happy).
As far as Hunter is concerned, Kimber didn’t let him off the hook. He pointed out that Hunter’s idea to repal the ACA and do nothing else is pretty similar to some people who didn’t know when to stop fighting a war that was long over.
I literally talk about healthcare to the voters every day while Mr. Hunter continues to tell people “repeal and defund ‘Obamacare’. Mr. Hunter is like one of those WWII Japanese soldiers who kept fighting after the surrender because they thought the war was still going on. One Japanese soldier didn’t surrender until 1974! I think someone needs to tell Mr. Hunter the war on ‘Obamacare’ is over. I meet people daily who have listened to all the misinformation regarding the Affordable Care Act and have been misled. But I’m able to explain to them why this is working and how it benefits them. As a healthcare provider, I’ve seen the direct effects; in the first two months of 2014 I had more new patients than all of 2013 and these are all people who had been newly insured and had been without insurance for years.
Kimber is showing us how Democrats across the country can speak positively about the Affordable Care Act and not run scared from it. It is a powerful weapon for Democrats to use against their GOP opponents. Considering the positive impact it is having for millions of Americans, the ACA should be used as a campaigning tool and a major platform for Dems to run on. Kimber realized that a while ago and his campaign is a wonderful example of how to embrace Obamacare.