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The Journal Gazette

  • Photo courtesy Edith Kenna

  • Kenna

Friday, September 14, 2018 1:00 am

Insurance battle is the fight of your life

Edith Kenna

Edith Kenna, a Fort Wayne resident, is a member of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan.

That's my granddaughter, Tatum Moss, in the photo: age 4, born with a brain tumor. She had successful surgery at Riley Hospital for Children just before her first birthday. She has no developmental delays, but one hell of a pre-existing condition.

Both the federal and state government are out to destroy one of the most favorable aspects of the Affordable Care Act – protections for the pre-existing conditions of my granddaughter and millions of other Americans.

Indiana's own attorney general, Curtis Hill, is one of the 20 Republican attorneys general who sued to remove these protections. They claim the mandate to purchase health insurance was removed by Congress last year, thereby making the ACA unconstitutional.

Oral arguments in Texas v. Azar were heard last week. If the plaintiffs are successful, coverage for 2.7 million Hoosiers will be at risk. Health insurance companies once again will be able to deny coverage/care or charge astronomical premiums for pre-existing conditions.

This includes all health insurance: private insurance, employer-based insurance and HIP 2.0, which is 90 percent funded by the federal government under the ACA.

I called Hill's office to report my displeasure. I then called Gov. Eric Holcomb's office to remind him that when he took office, the governor announced that he wanted to expand HIP 2.0. I was told by his aide that there was nothing Holcomb could do as Hill was an independently elected state official.

That is ridiculous and defies common sense. Holcomb is Indiana's chief executive. Since when has Hill become the de-facto governor working against what the elected governor has announced as good policy for the state? His refusal to speak out for the benefit of Hoosiers about a policy in which he believes may be nonfeasance.

Holcomb should call out Hill for his self-serving, constituent-ignoring actions. He should further tell him to withdraw from this suit or resign. As reported in The Journal Gazette by Dr. Rob Stone in the oped “Wrongly reasoned” (Sept. 10), when Hill was directly asked by Stone about the horrific consequences of his actions to attempt to remove protections for pre-existing conditions under the ACA, Hill said, “I have no answer to that.”

It is incredible that the Justice Department has decided not to heartily defend existing law, the Affordable Care Act. Instead a group of Republican senators has introduced a bill to allow insurance companies to offer short-term  health insurance plans. Douglas O'Brien, Great Lakes regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote in an oped, “Short-term plans can ease insurance burden” (Sept. 4) that these plans “could ease the burdens” of expensive health isurance. Why should the federal government offer rickety plans with next-to-no coverage and high premiums and that don't cover pre-existing conditions or have drug benefits when we have so much better presently under the ACA?

The state and federal governments are directly working against complete health care coverage for citizens. Yes, some people paid higher premiums under the Affordable Care Act, but premiums for health care in general continue to rise in a for-profit system where profit, not care, is the goal.

The health care plans being introduced by this Republican administration are a big shell game. Pick up a shell, and you will find nothing that offers the health care we deserve. You will find nothing that provides care when you or family needs care.

You will find denials, unaffordable costs, medical bankruptcy and deaths that could have been prevented. What you will find under these shells is smiling, rich insurance executives who want to continue making big money from denying care. You will also find rich congressmen receiving big political contributions to maintain those big profits, leading to big donations.

This is a big power game. Find your power and fight for the health care you deserve.