Congresswomen Val Demings leads panel discussion on healthcare
By Frank Torres
Congresswoman Val Demings was in Dr. Phillips on Sunday afternoon to host a town hall meeting on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and to look at the possibilities 10th District constituents might face after the Republican majority begins their overhaul of the controversial legislation in the coming months. The event produced more questions than answers of what healthcare could look like after a replacement is put in place.
The event featured a panel discussion led by Demings that included representatives from three major health care organizations in the region, including Michael Griffin from Adventist Health Systems which includes Florida Hospital, Jason Altmire from Florida Blue and Anne Packham from the Primary Care Access Network.
Each of them reflected on the history of the ACA in the state in recent years with Governor Rick Scott and the Florida legislature kicking back funds to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, which they say are raising premiums to cover the cost of the uninsured who show up for treatment at their emergency rooms.
They also reported on what they were hearing from policyholders since President Donald Trump and the GOP majority began exploring alternatives to put in place last month.
“People are scared that after the last election of losing coverage.” said Packham, about consumers who showed up during the most recent enrollment period.
A Q&A session took place after the opening discussion with attendees being allowed to voice their concerns and ask the panel questions. Most of the interactions were friendly with the only complaints coming from constituents that already believed the cost of care was too high.
Many of them asked what replacements could be put in place.
“I have told my colleagues across the aisle that if they have a better plan to show us the plan.” said Demings “It is about access to health care and we have not seen a plan yet.”