Rather than addressing our stagnant economy or drafting legislation that would put people back to work, Republicans made their first move this week in the 112th Congress by voting to repeal health care reform. The Republicans’ (and a few Democrats’) position is clear: they support denying coverage to children born sick, they support insurance company practices that drop people when they get ill and deny coverage because of deadly pre-existing conditions (like acne), and they definitely support higher drug costs for seniors.
On the day of the vote in the House of Representatives, constituents of the third Congressional District (Dan Lungren – R), the Sacramento Central Labor Council and HCAN coalition partners held a press conference in front of Rep. Lungren’s Elk Grove district office to challenge the congressman’s position of siding with the insurance companies over the people in his district.
Constituents shared stories of how the Affordable Care Act has benefited them and their families. Marcie Bayne, resident of Amador County (CD-03) said,
Two years ago, my two sisters and I were forced to make a decision that changed my husband’s and my life. My parents were making bad choices when it came to food, housing, prescription medicines, getting necessary medical treatment, and basic tests…because they couldn’t afford them. We brought them into our home so they could make better choices. No longer having to worry about food or housing, they can get the medical care they require. Each year they fell into the donut hole making their prescriptions very expensive.
This fall, my dad got one of the first benefits of the new health care reform act and received a $250 check. My mom got her check right after Christmas at the same time she had to pay over $100 for a medicine necessary for her health…Mr. Lungren – why do you want to repeal this law, before it has a chance to fully be enacted and why do you think that my parents and other parents of hard working class families should not have guaranteed benefits as they reach an age when it becomes a vital necessity?
Other constituents shared stories of keeping children on their health care until 26 years of age and covering necessary preventive care. Anthony Wright, director of Health Access, outlined the direct consequences in the 3rd district caused by repeal of the health care law:
- Allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to 131,000 to 336,000 individuals, including 10,000 – 44,000 children, with pre-existing conditions
- Rescinding consumer protections for 513,000 individuals who have health insurance through their employer or the market for private insurance.
- Eliminating health care tax credits for up to 13,200 small businesses and 149,000 families.
- Increasing prescription drug costs for 12,200 seniors who hit the Part D drug “donut hole” and denying new preventive care benefits to 109,000 seniors.
- Increasing the costs of early retiree coverage for up to 10,100 early retirees.
- Eliminating new health care coverage options for 3,400 uninsured young adults.
- Increasing the number of people without health insurance to 27,000 individuals.
After a short press conference, constituents stormed Rep. Lungren’s office, challenging the congress member’s staffer on his canned talking points. A community member summed it up quite nicely, “Respectfully, we’re tired of Mr. Lungren and others like him playing politics with our health care.” And are we ever sick of the Republicans playing politics – we need jobs, not a re-hash of the political debates of the last two years.