Larsen talks ACA in Sedro-Woolley

Skagit Valley Herald: Larsen talks ACA in Sedro-Woolley
By Marylin Napier

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — As part of his Affordable Care Act Tour, Rep. Rick Larsen held a “town talk” at Sedro-Woolley City Hall on Saturday to answer questions from the community and to discuss why the ACA should not be repealed. About 100 people filled the room to maximum capacity, some in support of the ACA, others in disagreement.

Larsen’s ACA Tour, visiting towns and cities across Northwest Washington, is designed to talk to constituents about why repealing the act would affect Washingtonians negatively. The Democrat answered questions and concerns from the audience for about two and a half hours, going an hour over the scheduled time.

Attendees expressed their disagreements about the ACA, and others asked how they can act individually to stop the act from being repealed. Some shared their personal frustrations with health care and how it has affected them.

Wick Wichers of Sedro-Woolley said he came to the talk because he was interested in what Larsen had to say. Wichers said he thought the event was very positive, and that he is also worried about the ACA being repealed.

“I’ve had to spend a great deal of my retirement (fund) on health care ... repealing it (ACA) takes us back too many years,” he said.

Wichers said he is on Medicaid and that his wife uses the ACA, which Wichers previously used before becoming eligible for Medicaid.

Mary Jo Kraning of Burlington said she is frightened about what could happen to health care and came to support Larsen.

“I need to know how I can be effective as an individual,” she said. “I thought what he said was great, rational and thoughtful.”

Kraning said she thinks the ACA needs to be enhanced, not repealed.

Saturday’s meeting was Larsen’s fifth “town talk” since mid-January. He has talked in other cities including Anacortes, Bellingham and Marysville.

While answering questions Saturday, Larsen kept the mood light and welcomed comments from both sides of the issue.

Larsen said Republicans need to come up with a plan to replace the ACA before they try to repeal it, and to let the American people judge that plan.

“Repealing it will not result in more people being covered,” Larsen said. “I don’t believe it will result in universal coverage, just universal chaos for health care.”

Larsen voted in support for the ACA in 2009, noting “its improvements to Medicare benefits for seniors, bans on discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and potential to expand health care coverage for those who need it most,” according to a news release.

The congressman added Saturday that 13,000 people in Skagit County will lose health care if the ACA is not replaced immediately if it is repealed.

Sedro-Woolley Mayor Keith Wagoner said he was happy to host the meeting and would want to do more in the future.

“Although we don’t always agree on politics, I admire him (Larsen),” Wagoner said.