A Message from Rick: Getting Covered in Northwest Washington

Nov 22, 2013 Issues: Health Care

Hi, I’m Congressman Rick Larsen.

Here in Congress, a lot of folks still want to stop the Affordable Care Act. Republicans tell us that because a website isn’t working, the law never will. Republicans tell us that this law will cost billions, when the nonpartisan scorekeepers tell us that simply isn’t true. Republicans tell us this law is so distasteful that they would rather shut down the government than let it move forward.

But you know what they’re not telling us? That thousands of people across the country, including more than 98,000 people in Washington state, are signing up for good quality health coverage.

Now, I know there have been problems with this rollout, but the crisis in health care in this country is not a website that doesn’t work. The crisis is that 48 million people are uninsured.

A constituent named Liz, from Bellingham, Washington; she told me she was angry when she found out her insurance company was cancelling her plan. She was angry. Until she logged on to Washington’s health insurance marketplace and found better coverage at a better price. Now, she tells me, she’s, “a happy camper.”

Sharon in Friday Harbor was another person who received a cancellation notice from her insurer. She’s not upset though because she found insurance that will save her $3,000 a year. She told me, “I hope there’s no backtracking.”

Well I hope so too.

But the Affordable Care Act is about more than saving money. It’s about saving lives.

That’s what Susan from Lopez Island told me. Her husband was just diagnosed with cancer, and they’re having a difficult experience with their current insurance provider. They’ll be switching in January, something she points out is only possible because of the Affordable Care Act’s ban on denying coverage because of preexisting conditions.

And a Lynnwood resident named Lee hasn’t been fully insured since he left his job in 2010. He is diabetic and had a heart attack last year. He and his wife have part-time jobs that don’t offer insurance, and they haven’t been able to find affordable insurance. So, when the health insurance marketplace launched last month, he was pretty skeptical. So he called the helpline a couple times and got through the sign-up process. Come the New Year, Lee and his wife will be fully insured for the first time in years.

Now I’m not here to make excuses. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has had huge problems for which actual people, not a website, but actual people are responsible. Congress needs to hold these people accountable.

But does that mean we scrap the law?

No.

Does Congress tell Liz, Sharon, Susan and Lee they’re out of luck?

No.

Do we go back to discriminating against people with preexisting conditions? Do we go back to capping the amount of health care you can get each year? Do we go back to charging women more than men for the care they need?

Absolutely not.

So on behalf of Liz and Sharon, Susan and Lee, and the thousands of others across Northwest Washington who want better, more affordable health care, I’m going to continue standing against these Republican efforts to attack the Affordable Care Act.

It’s time that we move forward, and not backward, on health care.

Thanks for listening.