Letter to Editor: Congressman Harris Should Not Repeal Affordable Care Act

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I’m deeply concerned that Congressman Andy Harris will vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act against the best interests of Marylanders, particularly the vulnerable communities he represents on the Eastern Shore. As a family physician serving the Eastern Shore’s neediest communities, I can tell you first hand that access to health insurance improves health. Investing in health has vast societal benefits, from helping our children to be better learners to increasing the productivity of working families.

Since the law was passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has helped 278,000 Marylanders gain access to healthcare. Maryland’s most vulnerable people such as children, people with disabilities, seniors and people living in poverty can more easily obtain and keep health insurance coverage. Marylanders can obtain vital preventive care that saves lives and lowers healthcare costs. Women are no longer discriminated against under the Affordable Care Act. Marylanders can now obtain information about the exact cost and coverage of each plan available. Yet, Congressman Harris voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and voted to repeal it twice, most recently on January 13, 2017.

Last week a gentleman in my office explained that his diabetes has been uncontrolled for years and that he has not sought testing for his chest pain because he did not have health insurance until recently. A pregnant woman postponed important testing I had recommended for her high-risk pregnancy while waiting to be added to her husband’s plan. Stories such as these are common within the communities I serve. People need easier access to health insurance, not more barriers. We need to improve our existing health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act, not start from scratch with a new program that will take years to implement and disrupt the services we are already trying to provide.

Clearly our healthcare system is far from perfect. However we need to continue expanding coverage, not cancel it. We need to improve and expand services under existing insurance coverage, not limit it further. My position on this issue is not unique. On January 2, 2017, organizations representing hundreds of thousands of doctors throughout the country (The American Academy of Family Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatricians, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and The American College of Physicians) released a letter to Congress, supporting wide-spread insurance coverage in our country and voicing caution against dismantling the system we are working to build and improve.

Congressman Harris should work in the spirit of bipartisanship with Senator Van Hollen and the rest of the Maryland Congressional delegation to improve the Affordable Care Act, rather than dismantle it to the detriment of our communities. I urge readers to call Congressman Harris’ office today and ask him not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Christina Drostin, MD, MPH

Letters to Editor

  1. Natder Chateaunat says:

    Kids with disabilities and poor families have always received medical assistance her on the shore. We still see 90 percent of our patients who have medical assistance as we did in the 70s. of course things were much better under the MAC program before medicaid came along because patients did not have restrictions and Doctors did not have to do referrals for certain services. Then things got complicated patients were told they could only go to their assigned doctor not their doctor they chose. A lot of of services programs were run by local health departments then government slowly took them all away . Clinics federally funded are fortunate. Most on the shore are private.The private clinics have increase in overhead costs. Medicine has become more complicated. No one should be forced to pay a penalty for not having insurance ..and many hard working middle class cannot afford the high deductibles. Repeal and replace, please get rid of the middlemen and unnecessary laws. No clinic should be forced to go electronic it is too expensive.

  2. Phyllis Donohue says:

    Andy Harris is not at all concerned about people on the Eastern Shore receiving medical care under the ACA. He only visits the Eastern Shore when necessary and has that sham office on Kent Island. Can’t miss the sign on RT. 50. And why does an Anesthesiologist need an office? He showed his true colors when he made such a fuss when he was first elected and complained about having to wait for his health insurance; this when he was covered under either a Johns Hopkins plan or a plan from the State of Maryland. He could not comprehend how someone would have to wait for coverage. Welcome to the real world Andy. Don’t bother calling his office and asking the darling of the Tea Party to not repeal the ACA and don’t hold your breath waiting for his colleagues to offer a replacement plan. They have had several years to come up with a plan to replace the ACA and what have the come up with? Nothing.

  3. Richard Hott says:

    We have heard it over and over. Get rid of ACA………..an old axiom….you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Republicans have voted time and again to “get rid of ACA and offering no solution in its place. I am certain that Dr.l Harris would not stop passing gas on a patient without alternatives. Or would he? There is too much good helping people with preexisting conditions, and with the job market pretty tight allowing graduating students being able to get coverage at home and on and on. Come on Andy, is there something in it for you to repeal the law?

  4. Barbara Denton says:

    The Affordable Care Act is not affordable. No one in Maryland has ever gone without health care. We had a pool for people with preconditions. I have never been discriminated against with medical insurance. I am now due to Obamacare. These Doctors immersed in the social justice system do have not have the slightest idea what they are talking about.

    Obamacare needs to be scrapped at once. No one should be subject to $2500 per month insurance bills with $6,000 deductibles. If a patient wants to pay cash for routine care they should be able to. If a young person only wants catastrophic insurance and only that, they should be able to buy it.
    Obamacare is the federal government interfering with your personal health care. Bottom line, the Federal Government has no business in my personal life. I am not responsible for
    every Tom, Dick and Harry’s insurance. I pay for mine. They can pay for theirs. Health insurance is a personal choice item not a right.

    • Deirdre LaMotte says:

      Your insurance will continue to go up without the ACA. And perhaps caring for others is beyond your scope, consider the fiscal impact of
      scraping the ACA in Maryland: the loss of $27,398 jobs, a repeal or replace of the ACA could cost Maryland more than 2.2 billion in fiscal 2018 and another 2 billion by fiscal 2020,
      476,000 people would lose insurance …burdening our State and Hospitals. Remember, people using the emergency room is ultimately paid for by tax payers and is
      inefficient, to say the least. Medical depts contribute to over half (52%) of dept collections that appear on consumer credit
      reports in the U.S. And contribute to almost half of bankruptcies. For a nation like ours, that is absolutely unacceptable and cruel.

  5. Debra Ryan says:

    Mr. Harris,
    How can you agree to take away your constituents health care before establishing a better plan? Please be a voice reason & demand that your Republican party do the right thing.

    Thank you

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