Illinois man joins Michelle Obama at State of the Union address

Marshall Cohen

A western Illinois man joined Michelle Obama in the first lady’s box during the president’s annual State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The White House picked Adam Rapp of Payson, Ill., to attend the national address because he benefited from the landmark health care reform bill President Barack Obama signed in 2010. Following the bill’s passage, Rapp sent a thank you letter to the president.

“When Homeland Security calls, the call comes from a withheld number, but I didn’t really think it was a prank,” Rapp told the Quincy Herald-Whig earlier this week. “I really didn’t know what to say. I was pretty speechless when I got that call.”

Rapp, 23, was diagnosed with cancer on his 23rd birthday and “would have lost health insurance coverage the same day” without the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a White House news release issued Tuesday.

Rapp is now cancer-free after undergoing treatment, according to the news release. His mother, Lisa, and his fiancee, Adrienne Mast of Quincy, Ill., accompanied him at the speech.

– Marshall Cohen