Mainers speak against ‘chaos’ of Obamacare repeal
Health care advocates gathered with legislators and small business owners in Augusta on Wednesday to stand against what they called “political brinksmanship” in Washington that threatens the health care of hundreds of thousands of Mainers.
“While some Republicans in Congress are rushing headlong into a half-baked plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement in place, Maine families are left wondering how they will find affordable coverage and keep themselves healthy,” said Emily Brostek, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “Health experts agree that individual insurance markets will not survive this kind of uncertainty and turmoil. Insurers facing a choice between spiking premiums or abandoning the individual market entirely is a nightmare scenario that could impact everybody, not just those who have signed up for coverage through the exchange.”
Republicans in the House and Senate are considering a number of plans to dismantle the health care program, including a proposal termed ‘repeal and delay’ by its critics that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act without any immediate replacement legislation to maintain the insurance markets, ensure coverage of those with pre-existing conditions or other popular aspects of the current law.
Brostek spoke at a press conference on the issue at the State House, joined by Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson and Andrew Volk, co-owner of Hunt and Alpine Club and Little Giant in Portland.
“When our daughter was born, there were complications that would have cost us tens of thousands of dollars without coverage. Instead, because of the Affordable Care Act, we were able to continue to focus running our business, where we currently employ over a dozen individuals,” Volk said, quoted in the Portland Press Herald.
Jackson, who choked back tears at one point talking about a friend who died without access to health insurance, vowed that he would urge the legislature to do what they can to address holes left in the health care infrastructure by an Obamacare repeal.
Lorette Adams, a cancer survivor from Easton, was aghast at the possibility of insurance companies once again being able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions or place a lifetime cap on coverage costs.
“The Affordable Care Act has given so many Mainers the ability to get affordable health insurance and it’s given us a little bit of breathing room and peace of mind as we try to make ends meet. Tearing that coverage away without any alternative plan would not only be dangerous; it defies common sense,” said Adams. “It would be devastating for me and others who’ve had a serious illness.”
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