Worries over fate of Affordable Care Act dominate Elgin town hall meeting held by Rep. Krishnamoorthi
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi blasted the Trump administration’s legal efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act, calling a recent court filing an “inane, crazy, stupid lawsuit.”
Speaking at a town hall meeting Thursday at Elgin Community College, the Schaumburg-based Democrat predicted the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, which argues the health care program known as Obamacare is unconstitutional, would ultimately end up in the Supreme Court.
“It’s completely unacceptable this position by the Trump administration,” Krishnamoorthi told those gathered at his town hall. “Any effort to throw out the entire Affordable Care Act would throw the entire health insurance system into disarray, whether you’re on the Affordable Care Act or not.”
The fate of the 9-year-old health care law, prescription drug costs and the topic of health care in general was the focus of Thursday’s meeting, the second Krishnamoorthi has held this year in his 8th Congressional District, which includes Elgin.
Jennifer Hunter, a Lombard resident, spoke about her family’s struggles to pay medical and hospital bills associated with her 4-year-old son’s treatment for Stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer. She said her husband’s insurance provider was billed more than $2 million last year and more than $800,000 this year.
Protections in the Affordable Care Act that cover employee-based plans like the one Hunter’s husband has means they only pay a fraction of the cost, she said. The elimination of the health care law would remove the protections for her family and thousands more.
“When we hear about the current administration’s plans to abolish the ACA without a plan to replace, it terrifies us to our core because we know what our life would be like without the ACA,” she said.
Denise Olhava, a Palatine resident, spoke about her family’s struggles to pay for her 27-year-old daughter’s prescription drugs. Olhava’s daughter has struggled with rheumatoid arthritis for most of her life, requiring medication to ease the pain, she told those in attendance Thursday.
Her daughter is covered under the Affordable Care Act, but it does not cover enough of the prescription costs. Olhava helps her daughter pay but it has “wiped out” Olhava financially, she said. Some of the drugs her daughter needs cost more than $5,000, she said.
“I cannot afford $2,600 (prescription drugs),” she said. “If you want to talk an emergency in the United States, this is it.”
Sudden illness or medical emergencies do not discriminate, Krishnamoorthi said. The financial and emotional hardships that happened to Olhava and others who spoke up Thursday can happen to anyone, regardless of political party affiliation, he said.
“For the first time, I am actually hearing concern from the other side of the aisle on this particular issue (of drug costs), despite the fact certain special interests have traditionally throttled movement or progress,” he said. “Now I think (Republicans) also see what we’re seeing and hearing.”
Besides health care, constituents at the town hall brought up topics like immigration, tariffs, higher education, local concerns, among others.
Krishnamoorthi used the public’s interest on higher education and the town hall’s college venue to discuss bipartisan legislation he introduced last month with Democrat and Republican colleagues. The College Transparency Act would require colleges and universities to expand what they report to students and their families regarding college costs and what students and families should expect once they graduate. The legislation allows for a database where higher education institutions would post enrollment and completion data, tuition and attendance costs, salary figures and employment outcomes for majors and career paths in hopes to make the institutions more transparent of their intentions.
“It starts that conversation between parents and children about what’s a good return on investment,” he said. “Sometimes college is an emotional decision, but this provides a little bit of data so you can have a rational discussion on the numbers.”
Author: Rafael Guerrero