Archive for Thursday, July 20, 2017

Local Obamacare advocates share stories, urge action during town hall meeting

Lawrence resident Joe Harkins speaks in favor of national health insurance during a town hall meeting on health care Thursday at the Lawrence Public Library.

Lawrence resident Joe Harkins speaks in favor of national health insurance during a town hall meeting on health care Thursday at the Lawrence Public Library.

July 20, 2017

Advertisement

— Around 70 people who support the federal health care law known as Obamacare turned out for a town hall meeting Thursday to share their own personal health care stories and to organize a campaign to pressure the local congressional delegation not to repeal or weaken the law.

The gathering occurred just a few days after Senate Republican leaders, for the second time this summer, called off a vote on a bill to repeal and replace the law, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, because they couldn't get 50 GOP senators to support it.

"These bills are zombies. They’re hard to kill," Sheldon Weisgrau, director of the Health Reform Resource Project, advised the audience. "They will keep coming back time and time and time again."

Lawrence resident Joe Harkins speaks in favor of national health insurance during a town hall meeting on health care Thursday at the Lawrence Public Library.

Lawrence resident Joe Harkins speaks in favor of national health insurance during a town hall meeting on health care Thursday at the Lawrence Public Library.

The event was organized by the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, which has actively lobbied for expanding the Kansas Medicaid program under Obamacare, Indivisible LFK, which is part of a national network of progressive activists who began organizing after the 2016 presidential election, and other health care advocacy groups.

Several people who attended said they feared any repeal of Obamacare would include repealing its requirement that people cannot be denied insurance coverage for a pre-existing condition.

Anjali Kansal-Rill said she suffered from severe post-partum depression last year after giving birth to her daughter and at one point contemplated suicide. With support from her husband, she quickly sought treatment from her family physician and is doing much better today, but she said she now has a medical record of a pre-existing mental health condition.

"If we go back to a world where there are pre-existing conditions, no one will touch me," she said. "That will be held against me forever because I got the help I needed to be a mom."

Courtney Eiterich, of Lenexa, who said she was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, said she would never be able to afford health insurance without the subsidies available under Obamacare for policies sold on the online exchange markets.

For the two years before subsidized policies became available on the Obamacare exchange markets, she said her family paid more than $2,300 a month for insurance. With Obamacare, she said, they pay about half of that.

Over the past nine years, she said, she and her husband have paid more than $200,000 in out-of-pocket costs, counting insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

“Which is outrageous," she said. "We are in a position now where we have spent money that we didn’t need to spend. Retirement money. We’ve spent money on things that shouldn’t have had to have been a choice."

Joe Harkins of Lawrence also spoke out during the meeting to say he did not believe either Obamacare or the Republican alternatives would ever solve the real problems of health care costs and access to care.

"We're fighting for little pieces of territory that don't solve the problem," he said. "Nothing short of Medicare as health insurance for all is going to solve this problem."

The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 helped ignite the tea party movement that put Republicans back in control of both chambers of Congress over the next two years. Since then, Congress has voted several times to completely repeal the law, but those measures never got past President Barack Obama.

With Donald Trump now in the White House, however, Republicans are finally in a position to deliver on that promise. Ironically, though, just as they came into that position, polls have showed the popularity of Obamacare has grown.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking the program's popularity since its inception, found in June that a slim majority of people surveyed, 51 percent, had a favorable opinion of the law while only 44 percent had an unfavorable opinion. That compares to a 33-percent approval rating the law had at its low point in November 2013.

An ABC-Washington Post survey last week found 50 percent of those questioned favored Obamacare over the Republican health care plan, while only 24 percent favored the GOP plan.

In May, the U.S. House passed its own version of a "repeal-and-replace" bill called the American Health Care Act, or AHCA. All four House members from Kansas, all of whom are Republicans, voted in favor of the bill.

But efforts have run into a wall of resistance in the U.S. Senate, mainly due to divisions between moderate Republicans who would prefer to fix what they see as problems in Obamacare, and conservatives who want nothing less than a full repeal.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, who is generally seen as a conservative, has opposed both plans that Senate GOP leaders have come up with so far, saying they did not go far enough in repealing Obamacare, while at the same time saying they would have been bad for rural health care in Kansas.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, also a Republican, has supported both repeal-and-replace bills.

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Taxpayers realize that the medical insurance industry is as corrupt as the mafia, President Trump, ALEC, too many in the house and senate, the electoral college, the Presidential Debate Commission Inc. and our election system.

Members of the house and senate allow the insurance industry to design whatever then kick back to elected officials billions of campaign dollars over time ….those are health care dollars btw.

Paying back like a busted slot machine as Bill Moyers would say. http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2009/10/bill_moyers_michael_winship_in.html#more

Richard Heckler 5 months, 4 weeks ago

Put forth choices which would allow for consumers aka voters to pick which seems more practical for their needs.

Put forth this package to voters for approval.

=== ObamaCare which retains the health insurance industry for those who are pleased with the medical insurance industry after all it is their dollar. This needs stiff federal regulations that cannot be superseded by the states. Offer a tax dollar rebate at the end of every year that would equal about what families would “payout” through taxes = $3300..

=== Single Payer Medicare for ALL = excellent coverage for those who wish to enroll. The absolute best choice on planet earth. This group does not need tax rebates because our taxes are working for this plan and we the taxpayers. WE know that using the existing medicare template to service Medicare for All Single payer saves lots and lots of dollars over reinventing the wheel. http://www.healthcare-now.org/docs/spreport.pdf

=== ALLOW self financed health care for those able to do so. Paying out of pocket is more efficient for this group. Offer a tax dollar rebate at the end of every year that would equal about what families would “payout” through taxes = $3300.

=== ALL Disabled vets should receive Medicare with a 100% benefit so they and their families can receive medical care immediately upon discharge.

=== Let the voters approve this package. NO ONE SHOULD EVER BE UNDERINSURED AGAIN NEVER EVER.

=== Business SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE!

=== WHAT SHOULD A SINGLE PAYER PLAN INCLUDE?

IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL would cover every person for all necessary medical care 24/7 to include:
Wellness prescription drugs • hospital • surgical, • outpatient services • primary and preventive care • emergency services, • dental • mental health • home health
• physical therapy • rehabilitation (including for substance abuse) • vision care • hearing services including hearing aids
• chiropractic • durable medical equipment • palliative care • long term care NO DEDUCTIBLES – NO COPAYS http://www.healthcare-now.org/docs/spreport.pdf

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

loading...