Local Health Care Advocates Join Protect Our Care to Call for an End to GOP Attacks on Floridians’ Health Care
Lauren Baer speaks in front of Care Force one in Fort Pierce, Florida.
FORT PIERCE, FLORIDA – This morning, Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour arrived in Fort Pierce to call attention to the ongoing Republican war on health care care. Headlined by Lauren Baer, the event highlighted the actions Republicans are taking to harm Floridians’ care and called on Gov. Rick Scott and Rep. Brian Mast to work instead to protect our care.
Local Hobe Sound resident Kyla MacArdle kicked off the event, discussing her own health care experience.
“Two and half years ago, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, the most difficult cancer to treat,” said MacArdle.”Without the ACA, I would now be dead. Without the ACA, I would have no health insurance and be punished for having a pre-existing condition. Rep. Brian Mast has voted to repeal and replace the ACA. It would kick 1.3 million Floridians off of Medicaid . It would also let insurers be able to discriminate against 7.8 million Floridians with pre-existing conditions, including over 270,000 who live in his own district. This is a non-partisan health insurance crisis that we as Americans are going to need to fix. We need to save the ACA, to save me.”
MacArdle’s comments were echoed by Lauren Baer, a former Obama Administration official and attorney.
“Health care is a right, not a privilege for the most fortunate Americans, and no Floridian should have to choose between making ends meet and getting the kind of care they need,” said Baer. “The people of our community have suffered for too long at the hands of Washington politicians like Brian Mast who vote in ways that increase costs and decrease coverage. It’s time for a change.”
The significance of Baer’s and McArdle’s remarks was made clear by national health care advocate Laura Packard.
“I’m alive because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Packard. “I’m a stage four cancer survivor and I’m on this tour to defend our attacks against the GOP. President Trump may have blocked me on Twitter, but he can’t stop me and the American people from fighting to protect our care.”
Baer, MacArdle, and Packard were joined by Delores Hogan Johnson, a two-time cancer survivor and Fort Pierce resident; Tobi Schelin, a local nurse practitioner; and Elena Hung, the co-founder of Little Lobbyists, a group which advocates for children with complex medical needs.
At today’s event, Fort Pierce residents, health care advocates, elected officials, and members of Protect Our Care detailed the numbers ways in which Republicans have attacked health care, and how these actions have cut coverage and increased costs for Floridians. Because of the Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda:
- Floridians will see their premiums increase by an average of more than five percent this year. It’s expected that 40 year old Floridians will face paying an extra $900 for marketplace coverage in 2019 because of Republican sabotage of the health care market.
- In Florida, out of pocket costs for older people could have increased by as much as $10,372 by 2026 if the House-passed American Health Care Act had become law.
- More than 650,000 Floridians have been denied access to affordable health coverage through Republican state officials’ refusal to expand Medicaid.
- Junk insurance plans that charge money for skimpy coverage could return to Florida and 609,000 Floridians could lack comprehensive coverage in 2019 because they will either become uninsured or will be enrolled in junk plans that don’t provide key health benefits.
- More than 1.4 million Floridians who have obtained health insurance through the ACA marketplace could lose their coverage if a judge sides with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, President Trump and the GOP in their lawsuit; and protections nearly 7.8 million Floridians living with a pre-existing condition would be in jeopardy.
- Hundreds of billions of dollars have been cut from Medicare.
- Dozens of hospitals in rural areas, including Campbellton-Graceville Hospital in Florida (2017), have closed, exacerbating the care and coverage gaps that exist for families in America’s rural communities.
- Governor Rick Scott has been an opponent of the Affordable Care Act since day one. Scott has blocked Medicaid expansion that could provide care for more than 650,000 Floridians, helped the Trump administration draft bills that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and he refuses to ask Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to remove herself from a lawsuit that threatens access to care for 7.8 million Floridians living with pre-existing conditions.
- Rep. Brian Mast voted for and passed a health care repeal bill that would cause 23 million people to lose coverage and gut protections for people with pre-existing condition; voted for a budget amendment that would cut Medicaid by $700 billion over ten years, $114 billion in a single year alone; voted for a tax scam that doubled as a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act by kicking 13 million people off of their insurance and raising premiums by double digits for millions more.