U grad to sit with Michelle Obama at State of the Union

Alexi Gusso

Abby Schanfield, who graduated from the University of Minnesota in December, will join Frist Lady Michelle Obama in her box during Tuesday's State of the Union address, the Star Tribune wrote in a blog.

The Star Tribune profiled Schanfield in June after the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Under the act, insurers can't turn away people with preexisting conditions starting in 2014.

Schanfield was born with toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that weakens the immune system and can result in deadly infections. She has undergone multiple brain operations; her first was at 10 months and her most recent was last January. She lost sight in her left eye when she was 17.

In the article, Schanfield said that without the Affordable Care Act, the chance of buying health insurance on her own was very slim.

"I understand why businesses don't want to insure people like me," she said in the article, "because I'm extremely expensive."

During the first State of the Union address of his second term, Obama is expected to address gun control, immigration reform and the sharp government spending cuts that are set to take effect next month.