Insure Kentucky celebrates 7th anniversary of Obamacare with U.S. House poised to vote on replacement

03/22/2017 05:39 PM

LOUISVILLE – With a crucial health-care vote looming in the U.S. House of Representatives, a coalition of Kentucky nonprofits held a celebration Wednesday of the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s passage.

Members of Insure Kentucky also expressed their desire to see health coverage for all Americans, mirroring President Donald Trump’s stated goal in January of “insurance for everybody” in reform efforts.

Rev. Mark Baridon, pastor of Louisville’s Central Presbyterian Church, said he hopes Trump and Congress make that goal a reality as the House prepares to vote on the American Health Care Act, phase one of the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace the federal health law known as Obamacare.

Speakers at Central Presbyterian Church expressed their doubts on the AHCA, in part because the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 24 million fewer Americans would have health coverage under the proposal.

“After the Affordable Care Act, we saw a 35 percent increase in the share who got a checkup over the last year, a 39 percent increase in the share reporting excellent health, and at the same time a 30 percent decrease in those skipping medications due to cost, a 33 percent decrease in those having trouble paying medical bills and a 64 percent decrease in the share of those using the ER as their usual source of care,” Baridon said during a news conference at his church, citing American Medical Association figures on Kentuckians under the ACA.

Tom Moffett, of Louisville, said he hoped to see Medicare extended to everyone in the U.S., not just those 65 and older.

He said most “are still struggling” under Obamacare, grappling with soaring out-of-pocket costs and shrinking insurance options.

“I’m tired of this,” he said. “It’s time to get down to business and get health care for all, Medicare for all, single-payer health care.”

Kay Tillow, executive director of the Nurses Professional Organization, agreed and said despite coverage gains in Kentucky and elsewhere, she sees plenty of room to improve the ACA.

“The coverage for so many of our people has gotten so costly, and the deductibles are high and the co-pays are high,” she said. “So even though more are covered, it is not solved, and people who don’t have a lot of money cannot afford their care.”

The U.S. House has scheduled a vote on the ACHA on Thursday, but the plan has been panned by Democrats who say it goes too far and Republicans who say it doesn’t go far enough.

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said Wednesday that there are more than 25 members of his group who won’t vote for the ACHA, enough to keep it from passing the lower chamber, according to reports.

That announcement came a day after Trump met with House Republicans to drum up support for the legislation, hinting that political consequences might befall those who vote against the bill.

Kentucky U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Garrison, is among those in the House expected to vote “no” on the ACHA.

Baridon said he would like to see Congress pump the brakes on passing the ACHA, which has moved swiftly though House committees since it was released March 6.

“There are many legislators on both sides of the aisle that want to take a more thoughtful approach,” he told Pure Politics after the event.


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