On April 11, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey met with nine area constituents in Scranton. We were deeply disappointed with the senator’s defensive tone and unwillingness to consider our viewpoints.
Sen. Toomey made it clear that he does not support the “essential benefits” requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which include maternity and mental health coverage. He was unfamiliar with some details about Medicaid coverage in the state, but he supports capping Medicaid funding to states. He also supports “high risk” pools for insurance coverage as a way of controlling premium costs, which would confine the sickest people to one sector of the market and which many experts say would result in those people paying catastrophically high fees for very sparse coverage.
Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Marino, who on May 4 voted in favor of the GOP health care bill, has deceived constituents in his claims that the bill “continues to protect the most vulnerable Americans.” In truth, the sick and elderly would face huge increases in premiums, and the CBO scoring revealed that 23 million Americans would lose coverage within the next decade.
Sen. Toomey seemed more concerned with defending his arguments than with listening to ours. We better understand his positions now, and they are extremely disturbing. Rep. Marino has refused to hold a town hall or any public meeting with constituents since January, even as he voted for a bill that provides a massive tax cut to the richest Americans and would result in the loss of health care coverage for millions of others.
We need to show our representatives that facts still matter and we fully understand the peril they have put us in by calling their offices, demanding town halls, and making sure they hear our personal stories. In this moment, we have much to lose.
Submitted by E-Mail