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Obama uses Leetsdale man's letter as example

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Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 3:00 p.m.

John Mier has written letters to elected officials in several offices over the years.

But the Leetsdale man said he never imagined a letter he sent last week to President Obama about the Affordable Care Act would be read for the nation to hear.

“I'm a letter writer. It's important that citizens do that — and to do that in an intelligent way,” Mier, 62, said.

In his letter, Mier proclaimed his support for the health care law.

Mier, who is self-employed, said the law helped him and his wife receive affordable health care coverage, which is why he wrote to the president.

“The Affordable Care Act is not perfect,” he said in an interview with the Herald. “It could have been better. Both sides went into it with the wrong direction. But all in all, it is a good first step.”

In Obama's remarks about John's letter — during a news conference on Monday — he said: “I got a letter last week from a self-employed man named John Mier in Leetsdale, Pa. He used the new marketplace to get himself and his wife covered and save a lot of money. And here's what he said because it pretty much sums up my message today: ‘Yes, the website really stank for the first week. But instead of paying $1,600 per month for a group insurance plan, we have a plan that will only cost us $692 a month — a savings of $900 per month.' John said … when he saw what they'd be paying, he turned to his wife and told her, ‘We might just pull through. We can afford this.' And John eventually predicted that ‘the website will work like a champ.'”

In the hours after Mier's letter was read, he received phone calls from media outlets across the country.

But Mier said he hopes his 15 minutes of fame are over soon.

“I had my ‘Joe the Plumber' moment,” Mier said. “But I stepped back.”

His unwanted fame won't keep him from writing more letters, though.

“Whenever someone says ‘I can't make any changes,' yes you can,” Mier said. “You might not know it at the time.”

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media.

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