The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce convened in Harrisburg today for a hearing focused on rolling back the reforms of the Affordable Care Act.
Not far from the hearing room, dozens of Pennsylvanians gathered in the Capitol Rotunda for a “consumers hearing” to highlight just how much the landmark health law has impacted the lives of everyday Pennsylvanians. Consumers were noticeably absent from the docket of speakers at the congressional hearing, which included Governor Corbett, lawmakers and the usual-suspect business lobbyists.
The consumers’ message was simple: don’t roll back reforms that are critical to the health and lives of working Pennsylvanians. Speakers highlighted the important changes that the Affordable Care Act made possible – from ending preexisting conditions and other abusive insurance practice to covering preventative care services for seniors to expanding access to quality, affordable health insurance for small businesses and individuals.
Many testifiers shared stories about the overwhelming need to fix our broken health care system. Theresa BrownGold, an artist from Bucks County, shared a particularly poignant story about a young woman named Courtney Leigh Huber who had Type 1 Diabetes. Courtney found it was cheaper to buy her insulin out of pocket than to pay the unaffordable monthly premium for her health insurance.
“Courtney tried to save a little money by cutting back on her nighttime dosage of insulin,” Ms. BrownGold said. “She thought she had the flu. She fell into a coma and died in January 2010 … The Affordable Care Act would have saved Courtney.”
Of course, the Congress members who came to Harrisburg for today’s field hearing didn’t hear this or any of the other stories since the committee chose not to invite consumers to testify.
Or maybe they did hear. As some Capitol insiders reported, the applause and chants of support from the Rotunda could be heard inside the congressional committee’s hearing room.
Read more about the consumers hearing in a press release from PHAN.
This blog entry is cross-posted at the Third and State Blog.