Thursday, June 22, 2017
Health and Human Services secretary Price, Hartzler tell Missourians Obamacare is abandoning them
A group of Missourians from the Fourth District met with Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to share their concerns about the continued implosion of the Affordable Care Act. These Missourians all live in counties where they will no longer have access to health insurance on the ACA exchange when Blue Cross Blue Shield leaves the market by the end of the year.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield decision to exit the Affordable Care Act exchanges will leave 77 of Missouri’s 114 counties with only a single insurer, and some 31,000 Missourians in another 25 counties with no coverage options, including Bates, Benton, Henry, Johnson, Pettis, St. Clair, and Vernon Counties in the Fourth District. According to Health and Human Services, premiums in Missouri have gone up an average of 145% over the last four years.
“Obamacare is collapsing, and Missouri families are being hit hard,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) who met with the constituents to hear how the ACA has impacted their lives. “It seems like every week there is a new insurer abandoning Obamacare and leaving Americans high and dry. We have to do something quickly before more Missourians lose access to coverage and premiums skyrocket anymore.”
Nationwide, a third of counties in the country only have one insurer on the ACA exchange.
“When I speak with my fellow Missourians, they tell me their health insurance is being taken away from them, and this is unacceptable,” Hartzler added. “It is imperative we repeal Obamacare and institute policies that will drive down costs and increase access to coverage for Missouri families. I’m so glad some Missouri Fourth District citizens got to come and share their stories.”
“That’s my major concern, no coverage, and then will we get penalties for not having something that is not in place?” said Candace Fowler, a Missourian from Henry County who met with Hartzler and Price Wednesday. Fowler has a neurological condition that will render her blind if not controlled but faces losing coverage.
“I felt like it was kind of an Abraham Lincoln moment … by the people,” Fowler said. “I got to be the people. I got to be by the people for the people, and I’m one of those people. Who am I, this woman from rural Missouri to be in the White House? I felt the responsibility of trying to represent the people who are my friends who are losing coverage. I felt like there was sincerity around the table as far as listening to us.”
White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway and CMS Administrator Seema Verma also attended the meeting, where Secretary Price listened to Americans who are experiencing the negative effects of the collapsing healthcare law.
“Get rid of the problem, now,” said Benton County resident Jim Blundell, who will lose his insurance when Blue Cross Blue Shield exits the Missouri exchange. “Because it is just going to continue to fester. It is just going to grow.”