With her permission, we’re passing along this powerful letter to Rep. Thompson from Karen Drosnes, who met with him last week. As you’ll see, it discusses and raises questions about GT’s positions on Medicaid, Medicare, annual and lifetime caps, high risk pools, maternity care, and the importance of town halls. Thanks to Karen for sharing this with us.
Last Friday, June 16th, I met with Representative Glenn Thompson in a small group setting in his Bellefonte office. I had been invited just the day before along with several other people. I invited some people to come with me but they were not allowed into the meeting. Just the invited were. My group included an older man who had a history of serious health issues, a young couple who had recently had a baby, and myself, a retired teacher who has spent the last 5 or 6 years volunteering at a free medical clinic in the State College area. We had around ½ hour to ask questions which were centered on the healthcare issue. After leaving the meeting I felt rather dissatisfied and I think that the others did as well so I decided to compose a letter to Rep. Thompson to both question his answers and to add some questions that I was not able to ask at the time. Here goes.
Dear Representative Thompson,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on June 16th. I am writing to let you know how I felt about some of your responses as well as adding some concerns regarding the health care plans that I did not have the time to ask about. First of all I brought up the fact that Medicaid is severely underfunded which is why, for example, our local residents that are on Medicaid/Medical Access have only one dentist in the State College area that will accept the medical access card. You agreed with me citing that Medicaid only pays $0.40 on the dollar. However you did not offer a solution. From everything I have read the Republican health care plan that was passed by the House plans to cut Medicaid. For example, AARP states that the plan would take $880 billion out of Medicaid by 2026. Given the fact that many would lose their health insurance how can Medicaid support this extra burden with less funding? The CBO says as many as 24 million could lose their insurance, possibly because they would lose their subsidies that are given through the ACA. You stated that originally you did not support the bill because of this shortfall to Medicaid, what changes made you change your mind?
One issue that I did not have time to ask about was the Medicare Savings Programs that help low income senior citizens pay for Medicare. I think that Medicaid funding is currently used to fund that program. If Medicaid is cut will that program also be cut and will low income seniors be totally without health insurance as well? Already at the health clinic we do have senior citizens who are on social security and Medicare who come to us for dental services as they just do not have the money to pay a dentist.
Next, could you explain the per capita caps that are included in the AHCA. What does a person do when they reach the cap? I could be sarcastic and say “die” but do you have an answer for me. Does a family have to then exhaust all their savings to keep their loved one alive?
And then to the high risk pool which we did discuss and which I have read was also underfunded. I have seen many quotes as to how much money would be needed and how much would be funded but I have not seen your figure of $109 billion which by the way, you did not say per year, per 10 years or what. I would be very scared if I had serious health problems and had to rely on such vague answers on how I would be taken care of.
The young woman in our group focused on maternity care issues and was not happy with your response. Reproductive care should be a basic coverage. In fact, reproductive care is a major problem in our area. After Planned Parenthood closed down and then Tapestry in Bellefonte, there is no place to go for reproductive care in this area if you are low income. Your response regarding not paying for things you will never need did not go over well. Childless people pay for schools, people who do not drive pay for roads, and peaceful people pay for wars. Men do not give birth but they are responsible for all births. You need to give this issue a second look.
And lastly it is obvious to me that you will never have a Town Hall for your constituents. Jake Corman had the guts to have one and even though many of us disagreed with him, we were well mannered and hope that he learned something from us as we did from him. You stated that something like70% of voters in your district are against Obamacare, I think as a way to tell the group at the table that we are in a minority, but do you realize that only 28% of eligible voters in your district voted for Trump? Do you honestly feel you have to support him 100%? As I talk to people who live near me I find many who are getting the feeling that they are not being heard by you and we are getting tired of that. I do recommend that you have more meetings with constituents, perhaps in groups of 20, in order to reach out and communicate with us. It would be helpful and I hope you find time to address some of the concerns that I have cited in this letter.