Cohen Nixes ‘Obamacare’ Reference

By Bill Dries

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen says calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” is a “trap.”


“It is a crying shame that this country, the greatest country on the face of the Earth – we are the last industrialized country to try to give health care to all citizens. It’s about time,” Cohen said Monday, Nov. 11, at a Veterans Day barbecue luncheon he hosted at BRIDGES Downtown for veterans.

The Memphis Democrat targeted what he called tea party Republicans as the most unyielding opponents of the Affordable Care Act – or “Obamacare,” a term that even President Barack Obama has used to refer to the act.

“Their people really do not like the president at all,” Cohen said of critics of the act. “The fact is we probably shouldn’t call it Obamacare because that’s falling into the trap. We should call it the Affordable Care Act.”

He then segued into “12 Years A Slave,” a film about the conditions of slavery in the 19th century.

“The vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow are still with us. That movie talks about it,” Cohen said. “If you see that movie and you think about people not having basic health care, you think about the infant mortality rate we’ve got in this country, which is awful.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Diane Knight, director of the Memphis VA Medical Center since this summer, told the audience of 300 veterans that if they come to the center’s emergency room, “I need to warn you, you may not recognize it.”

Knight said the old emergency room setup was “poorly laid out” and didn’t have enough doctors – problems she and her staff at the federally run center for the three-state area have since changed.

“I know it sounds like I’m running for office,” Knight said as she talked of outpatient treatment for some veterans being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder as well as other programs geared to recently returned veterans, including more women.

“They have a different expectation than we are accustomed to,” she said.