Casey Warns Battle Over Pre-existing Conditions Continues
PLAINS TWP. — Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, Amy Zemek has found it easier to get care for her daughter who requires round-the-clock supervision by a nurse.
Alexa Deal, 15, suffers from many pre-existing conditions, including cerebral palsy.
Zemek, of Covington Twp., fears attempts to roll back the law, often called Obamacare, will put her daughter’s health and life in jeopardy if insurance companies are again allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
She stated her case to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey D-Scranton, on Friday during a roundtable discussion at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
“Before Obamacare, I fought with insurance companies a lot,” Zemek said.
Bridget McAndrew, a Scranton School District teacher, told Casey how she’s battled breast cancer, how her son has Crohn’s disease, and how her husband has heart problems.
“Eliminating pre-existing conditions in our family would be detrimental,” McAndrew said.
Matt Stefanelli, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist from Blakley, said he was continually denied health insurance because he has asthma. After Obamacare was passed, he said he was able to get coverage. He was saddened to hear the health care law is in jeopardy again.
“I thought this fight was over,” Stefanelli said.
Casey said the fight is starting again and people who want to keep the pre-existing condition element in place need to join the battle.
“We shouldn’t be here. There’s no reason we should have to reargue and relitigate these issues,” Casey said.
A federal lawsuit 20 states filed against the Affordable Care Act aims to weaken or dismantle the law.
President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice, which normally defends laws passed by Congress, announced it won’t defend the pre-existing conditions part of the law.
Casey noted the law has helped 5.3 million Pennsylvanians and 133 million people nationwide get coverage.
In Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, about 162,963 adults with pre-existing conditions were able to obtain coverage, Casey said.
Casey vowed to save the law.
“They are not going to win,” Casey said. “We are going to beat them on this.”
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