On Sunday, February 26, district 10 Representative Val Demings held a Town Hall meeting on ACA at Dr. Phillip’s High School. The discussion included three panel members:
- Jason Altmire, former member of Congress and current Senior Vice President at Florida Blue
- Michael Griffin, Vice President of Public Affairs at Florida Hospital
- Anne Peckham, an ACA Navigator for Primary Care Access Network.
Congresswoman Demings opened the event with some expressions of gratitude for the panel, the attendees, and several VIP audience members. She briefly stated her support for the ACA and asked the attendees the same question she says she asks her colleagues in DC when discussing repealing ACA:
“Which family should not have access to quality healthcare that is affordable?”
She admitted the program is not perfect and would be happy to work with all members of Congress to improve it if they would only “show us their plan”.
Demings then moved the session on to the Q&A by asking each panel a question herself before opening the floor up to questions from the attendees. Interestingly, Demings did respond to most of the attendee questions herself instead of referring to the panel. The message she repeated over and over was that she is doing everything she can to repair, not repeal and replace, ACA.
Following are a few highlights of the Q&A:
- Jason Altmire (Florida Blue) asserted that lifetime and annual caps on insurance coverage as well as pre-existing conditions exclusions will not come back.
- Jason Altmire reported that members of congress are in fact the only group required to hold coverage under ACA.
- Mike Griffin (Florida Hospital) estimates 800,000 more Floridians who fall in the “coverage gap” between Medicaid and being able to afford subsidized coverage with the ACA would have been covered by Medicaid Expansion that was refused by Florida.
- Mike Griffin stated that the only way to lower medical costs (from the view of a provider) would be to insure everyone. Current exorbitant prices are the result of those who are insured covering costs for themselves and those who aren’t.
- Anne Peckham (Primary Care Access Network) reported there are approximately 64,600 people covered by ACA in district 10 alone, roughly 10% of the population. 85% of those receive a subsidy. If ACA is repealed all of those people would lose coverage.
We are all affected by what Congress does with ACA. If you want to take action and make your voice heard, you can call your 2 Senators and 1 Representative and let them know you expect them to work hard on your behalf. If you have a personal healthcare story, write a letter and send it to your Congressperson. Also, look for rallies related to ACA and show up! By making your voice heard, you can shape how ACA will look in the future.