Healthcare reform will be a focal point issue for both Republicans and Democrats in the 2020 presidential election, as Democrats look to add to their 2018 mid-term healthcare advances over their GOP counterparts.
Freshman Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) is tackling the healthcare issue head-on, and has been holding healthcare town hall and roundtable meetings with constituents to what she says is “bringing awareness to the needs of the community.”
The Floridian spoke to Rep.Mucarsel-Powell at her South Miami office where she was holding a ceremony to honor and award Hispanic leaders for their work in the Latino-heavy community, where the congresswoman broke with her fellow progressives, saying that it was "not the time to discuss" the Medicare for All initiative.
Mucarsel-Powell is also on record of saying that she believes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unaffordable because insurance premiums, deductible, and copayments are “so high.
“People can’t get appointments with their doctors, and when they do, their premiums are so high, their copayments are so high, their deductibles are so high, that they can’t afford it,” said Mucarsel-Powell “Many people just wait, and then it’s too late.”
Mucarsel-Powell points at President Trump and Republicans for the unaffordability of healthcare
Rep. Mucarsel Powell: “It’s twofold. First, it’s reminding everyone all the work that we’ve done in the House of Representatives, passing several bills that would reduce premiums, that would reduce the price of prescription drug pricing. Those that I’ve introduced with Republican colleagues that would address pharmaceuticals – some tricks that they do with their patents do not allow generic companies to compete – but it’s also to comment on another bill that we’re working on, H.R. 3, to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.”
Q: Have you taken a position yet on Medicare-for-all?
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell: “I’ve always had the same position that we need to protect what we have, fix the issues that we have with the ACA but not allow the Republicans and this president to repeal the ACA because it would kick off over 25 million Americans from their healthcare and that’s the last thing we need to do. So, it’s very clear to me, it’s a very clear choice, between the Democratic party and the Republican party. It’s the Democrats that are trying to work to fix the system that we have and expand access to healthcare and reduce costs while the Republicans in DC and this president are trying to repeal the ACA.”
Q: Fix ACA and leave Medicare-for-all for another day?
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell: “This is not the time for us to discuss that.”
“It’s because of all the laws that have been passed under a Republican-controlled House and Senate to take away the protections that the ACA had originally. And, that’s why it’s becoming more expensive.”
“In Florida, especially, it’s had a lot of issues. Because it makes it very difficult for different healthcare companies to compete in the marketplace especially here in Florida. So, if you fix those issues and you allow for more insurance companies to be able to provide these plans and you spread the risk… taking away the individual mandate is already making premiums go up much higher because you’re reducing the risk. All insurance companies will tell you that. You need to spread the risk so that when you do have to cover the more expensive cases you’re able to pull from others.”
“The main priority is to get as many people covered as we can. The idea that we’re not paying as taxpayers for people that end up in the emergency room because they can’t afford to get covered is flawed. We need to prevent those people that don’t have insurance to end up in the emergency room.
Because we all might end up paying for that. So, we need to come up with a plan, and I think the ACA is giving us a roadmap to get there to increase coverage, so that people get preventive care so that they are protected if they have a preexisting condition that allows for certain people that can’t afford it if you have a lower income level. That you’re able to purchase a lower healthcare plan because the government is going to have to pay for some of that. They’re already doing that. The government is already paying. H.R.3 addresses deductibles"
Hat tip to the Colombian baker gentleman who brought in the tasty Bunelos and empanadas to the meeting. Maybe next time there will some arepas to consume? Hint. Hint.