Buoyed by district support, Omar takes on broken health care

Chris Juhn/MSR News Omar during her Medicare for All Town Hall at Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar returned from Washington Thursday, July 18 to throngs of Minnesotan’s chanting “Welcome home, Ilhan.”

Minnesotans greeted Omar’s return from political battles fueled by racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and sexism on the Washington front and in the social media trenches, thanking her for her strength and leadership, fueling her with their support in anticipation of future bouts.

President Donald Trump tweeted on July 14 that Omar and other congresswomen of color should “go back” to their “corrupt” countries. Following the racist and irrational attack, Trump began fixating on Omar at rallies, prodding his supporters, at one event, to chant “send her back.” 

“I think that these attacks are meant to make people like us feel not welcomed,” said Asma Mohammed, who waited to warmly welcome Omar at the MSP International Airport. “More than anything I think that we need to remind everyone that Minnesota loves her and accepts her.”

Omar went straight to South Minneapolis to make a stand in the fight for healthcare access. “There are a lot of people trying to distract us now,” she said before a wildly enthusiastic crowd at the Sabathani Community Center on 38th Street. “…I’m going to continue to do the work on behalf of the Fifth [District].”

Omar talking with a supporter after the town hall.
Chris Juhn/MSR News

Omar shared a panel during her Medicare for All Town Hall with Washington state Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and former Minnesota House Majority Leader Erin Murphy. She said the American healthcare system is broken, and the way to fix it is Medicare for everyone, which she called a “moral imperative.”

This country is one of the wealthiest in the history of the world, she pointed out, yet one in four Americans cannot afford or access the health care they need. The measure would mean “high-quality health care for all U.S. residents,” with comprehensive coverage that would include dental, vision, and long-term care. There would be no copays, deductibles or other cost-sharing. 

Supplemental reporting done by Chris Juhn.

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