Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Town Hall meeting in Hinsdale, NY 2017

Dear Editor,
This Saturday’s Townhall with Tom Reed in Hinsdale was an interesting experience. There were supporters in the crowd with their hopeful MAGA hats but the majority of citizens there traded hope for anger and worry, illustrating such feelings with signs. These Americans need and want health care and they need health insurance to make that possible.
                Mr. Reed used the word “access” carefully and often. This new bill guarantees access to health insurance. Insurance companies must give access to people regardless of age or preexisting conditions.
                We all have access to a number of things we don’t own. There are things we would like to buy but when we haven’t the money, we don’t get them.
                Mr. Reed said that the $880 Billion cut to Medicaid won’t limit anyone’s access to insurance, a line repeated by Tom Price on TV. Price said that making that cut will allow states to reach more people. That sounds more like a deflecting slogan than a helpful plan.
                Mr. Reed did say that the new bill was much like the old one so the estimate that 24 million people will lose health coverage will likely be part of the next CBO evaluation but he doesn’t listen to bean-counters.
                A business owner drove all the way from Corning to ask a personal question. He pays $1082 per month in premiums for his family and what he gets has an $11,000 deductible. His out of pocket expenses last year were over $20,000. “Who can do that?” he asked. “What’s in this bill that will help my family and others in the same predicament?”
                Reed said there were 3 things in the bill that would help him. First, the mandates will disappear so nobody has to buy insurance. Without mandates, families can choose not to have insurance. I put that down twice so we can all think about it more.
                If the family chose to buy insurance, they would get relief at tax season with tax credits, the second helpful bit in the bill. The bill does away with subsidies so there will be no help paying premiums but people with annual incomes below $150,000 will be eligible for a tax credit of about $4000.
                The part of the bill that Reed feels is very important is that the market will be opened up allowing companies to sell benefits across state lines. With competition, premiums will come down.
                There was some discussion about the difference between health care and health insurance and, interestingly, it was presented by a man who insisted that government keep its hands off of health issues. The man said he was on Medicare, a system designed, organized run and managed by nothing but government hands.
                Access to Mr. Reed at Townhalls is valuable and appreciated but his meetings and others shown on TV illustrate how worried people are. Access to the ER doesn’t help anyone with empty pockets and a chronic illness like diabetes or arthritis. When access to EpiPens and blood pressure meds doesn’t grant the ability to acquire such things, there is no relief.

                Seems someone was right about Australia.