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Congresswoman Kaptur raises concerns over Affordable Care Act lawsuit

By La Prensa Staff


US OHIO DISTRICT 9 [Toledo to Cleveland], Sept. 11, 2018: US Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is lashing out at her Republican colleagues for a lawsuit that could eliminate healthcare protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The northern Ohio Democrat believes a federal lawsuit is a deliberate attempt to strike down key provisions of the Affordable Care Act that could have a devastating impact on people living in poverty and even in the middle classes.

Theresa Morris and Marcy Kaptur


“First of all, no one should have to worry about healthcare in this country,” said Ms. Kaptur. “We thought we were on the right track. In Ohio, we enrolled well over a million more people and we got the uninsured rate down to about 5.7 percent, which was the lowest in history.”


According to a study by the Center for American Progress, the Republican lawsuit jeopardizes the health care of 130 million US-Americans, including 68 million women and girls, nationwide. Congresswoman Kaptur contends the health care of 4.8 million people in Ohio with pre-existing conditions could be threatened if the lawsuit succeeds.


“They really don’t have an alternative (to Obamacare). Their alternative is catastrophic,” said Ms. Kaptur. “If you hit the $5,000 limit, how are you going to pay anything over that? You’ll end up bankrupt. We know people who went bankrupt in this community and the country. 75 percent of those who go bankrupt did so because of health costs, because they’re sick.”


The Texas federal judge hearing the case could strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, but legal experts believe the Trump administration only wants to strike down the portion of the ACA that affects the tax penalty and people with pre-existing conditions. Democrats contend the lawsuit should be thrown out in its entirety, because the court challenge is based on a shaky legal premise as were prior lawsuits that failed.


If the case is decided in the next few weeks, health advocates argue the judge could throw 2019 health insurance plans into confusion and chaos, while significantly impacting the affordability of insurance rates. In Ohio and elsewhere, open enrollment begins in November and runs through mid-December.


A group of Senate Republicans put forward a bill earlier this year that would continue to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but the proposal actually only requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, but it doesn't require them to cover that pre-existing condition itself. The end result is patients could get health insurance, but that policy won’t cover that illness under the bill.


Public Option Needed


The Ninth District representative contends that if the GOP leaders in Congress want to help President Trump dismantle the health insurance exchange that’s part of the Affordable Care Act, then there must be another option. While stopping short of calling for universal healthcare, she touted what could be called “Medicare for All” or a “Medicare Public Option.”


“What I think we really need to have is a public option under Medicare. I could support that,” said Ms. Kaptur. “People can have their private insurance. But people should have a plan that they can buy into and once it’s a national plan, it’s got a big enough pool that it’s insurable.”


The “dean of the Ohio delegation,” as she’s often referred, pointed out each generation is living five months longer than their parents, a reflection of a healthier U.S. population. Her contention is the United States cannot afford “to go backwards now” and “throw people off health insurance.”


“To constantly have people without insurance costs us so much more in the long run, because people end up in the emergency rooms, the most expensive care in these hospitals because they don’t take care of themselves,” Ms. Kaptur pointed out. “They don’t get an annual check-up, for example. For me, it makes moral sense for everyone to have access to affordable health insurance. But it is also economically wise to do because we prevent illness rather than just pay for more illness. As a society as a whole, you have a healthier society.”


Drug Companies Making Record Profits


Congresswoman Kaptur pointed out much-needed prescription drugs continue to rise in cost, while pharmaceutical companies continue to reap increased profits. She pointed out that diabetes medications recently went up, while the company behind them made a $32 billion profit. She also pointed to recent price increases for epi-pens.


“We have seen corporations basically throw out their social obligation,” said Ms. Kaptur. “Years ago, that was part and parcel of doing business in their community. There was a commitment to a healthy workforce. Now they call it a ‘defined contribution’ or you have to go out and buy your own (health insurance) or put up a health savings account, save up for if you get sick.”


The congresswoman questioned how someone who makes minimum wage even has a chance to put aside a few thousand dollars, let alone afford healthcare. She pointed out if a catastrophe such as a car accident would occur, the medical bills would mount to $100,000 very quickly, putting an entire family on the brink of bankruptcy even if they had saved some money for such an occurrence.


Congresswoman Kaptur believes the mid-term Congressional elections in November will be a public mandate on the future of healthcare in the U.S., with the Republican majority in Congress and President Trump being tested by a public vote in tight races across the country.


“We need to elect people at the Washington level who want to insure people at affordable prices,” she said. “What we’ve got is a majority in the House and Senate and a president who want to roll back health coverage. We have to stop that. That’s what this election is all about. This is on the ballot, even though it doesn’t say that. It’s on the ballot in November—will you have affordable health insurance? Will you be able to afford your medicines?”


The longest-serving female in Congressional history urged people statewide to head to the polls this fall, calling it a crucial vote. The deadline to register to vote this fall is Oct. 9, with early and absentee voting to begin the next day.


Kaptur Aide—Theresa Morris—to receive DHO award

Copyright © 1989 to 2018 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/25/18 20:31:55 -0700.




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