Dayton, Ellison Denounce Senate Health Care Bill, Highlighting Personal Stories

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s top Democrats are calling President Donald Trump’s health care plan an attack on the states most vulnerable.

On Wednesday, they highlighted some personal stories on what potential changes might mean.

Gov. Mark Dayton and Representative Keith Ellison spoke out in North Minneapolis against the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

Tina Webb told a crowd how she’s battled back from addiction and for the first time knows how much her health made it possible.

“Right now I’ve come so far,” Webb said. “I can’t say enough of how I feel today, where I know I’m healthy. I see a doctor on a regular basis. I can afford my prescriptions.”

Webb is one of the 1.2 million Minnesotans who rely on Medicaid and Minnesota Care to cover their medical treatment. They are programs at risk under the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The Congressional Budget Office says the Republican bill would cut coverage to 22 million people.

“Also important to understand 50 million will lose insurance under the first six months. Now behind all those numbers are people,” Democratic Representative Keith Ellison said.

Many of them get help at the site of Wednesday’s news conference. North Point Health and Wellness Center sees more than 25,000 patients a year in North Minneapolis. Its CEO says under the ACA, their uninsured rate went from 40 percent to 26 percent. Now they’re bracing for the numbers to climb again under the latest plan.

The changes would potentially impact James Robinson, who admits he’s made bad choices, but credits state funds for the treatment he needed to get clean.

“There would have been no support system, who saw some good in me and said ‘You deserve to live,'” he said.

In central Minnesota, a grassroots effort is underway encouraging lawmakers to vote against the Senate health care bill.

The group, which calls itself “Concerned Citizens of District 6,” shared stories Wednesday of how the proposed health care legislation would impact their community, and voiced concerns regarding the bill’s environmental protections and special interests.

Citing the Congressional Budget Office report, the group says approximately 28,000 people in Minnesota’s sixth district would lose insurance by 2025.

Congressman Tom Emmer represents the 6th district. He voted in support of the House’s bill — the American Health Care Act — in June. In a statement to WCCO, he said in part:

“I supported the American Health Care Act to lower costs and improve choice and access for all Minnesotans, and lets the state decide what works best without Washington bureaucrats adding more rules and regulations.”

The Congressional Budget Office also says the plan would reduce the deficit by $119 billion over a decade. Minnesota’s Republican members of Congress have said the bill would not cut off funds to seniors, the working poor and people with disabilities.

A vote in the Senate was delayed until after the Fourth of July recess. It’s expected before the August break.

More from Liz Collin
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