Summary of “the Peoples’ town hall” held on Tuesday, 2/21/2017, in Washington, PA
More than 87 consumers, direct care workers, United Health Care Workers union members, the general public (some of whom identified with other groups), and advocates came together at Courthouse Square in Washington, PA, to discuss the coming changes to health care.
Frightened and worried, the peaceably assembled group exchanged their personal health care stories and looming fears. Coming from a wide range of professions, political persuasions, economic classes, life experiences, a common pattern of related points connected everyone in the room.
The following five points summarize and explore that common pattern of anxiety and apprehension felt by southwestern Pennsylvania residents. We expect our elected representatives to understand these concerns and carry them to Washington, DC.
Five Main Points
- Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage Protections: Before the ACA, you could be denied any health coverage due to a pre-existing condition. If the ACA is repealed, this danger could return. We wish to prohibit application of pre-existing condition exclusions and to guarantee availability of health insurance coverage in the individual and group market.
- Retain & Strengthen Medicaid Expansion: In just one year, the Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania allowed over 625,000 low-income working citizens in our Commonwealth to gain health coverage for themselves and their families. Repeal of the ACA would put those hard-working Americans at risk of losing vital physical, mental, and behavioral health care services.
- Elected Representatives Should Vote for the Peoples’ Needs, Not a Party Platform!: Elected representatives represent all voters in their district, not just the ones that voted for them. The best way to discover the peoples’ needs is to meet with them, listen to them, and act on their concerns. We are always open to scheduling a meeting with you!
- No Medicaid Block Grants: Although Pennsylvania stands to receive a larger block grant than some states, this is not the way to meet the needs of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens. A finite pool of funds will always be less effective than state funds matched by a federal percentage; there is no way that a block grant can match ever-rising medical inflation.
- No Lifetime Benefit Limits: When a child is born with complex health care needs, they could easily hit a “lifetime benefit limit” before they ever leave the hospital to go home. Individuals with mental health diagnoses often need repeated hospitalizations and life-long treatment; benefit limitations should never be a barrier to those seeking proper care.