Only, the best laid plans of mice and men...
In Washington, D.C., Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) issues countless press releases boasting about his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, insisting that his constituents in North Carolina are clamoring for relief from the law. But during a town hall in Swannanoa on Wednesday, voters confronted the five-term Congressman with an entirely different sentiment: they demanded to know why Republicans would take away the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions without offering any credible other alternative for reforming the health care system. One grieving mother, who spoke to reporters before the event, said that her son was denied insurance because of a pre-existing health condition and eventually died of colon cancer.
Oops. You know Patrick, there are real people out there in towns like Mooresville, Lincolnton, Swannanoa and Hickory. The area where I grew up got the crap kicked out of them in the 80's when textiles went under, in the 90's when NAFTA shipped industrial manufacturing jobs to Mexico, and in the Oughts when the dot-com bust took out the fiber optic cable plants, and it got crapped on again by the financial crisis here in the 2010's. So yeah, you might want to remember that.
McHenry did offer a prescription for insuring individuals with pre-existing conditions, suggesting that sicker people who are cherry picked out of coverage on the individual market, should enroll in high-risk pools. The comment elicited boos from the crowd, as the plans, which are only open to sick people, are usually “unaffordable, unavailable or ineffective for many of those who most need health insurance.” The Affordable Care Act included a temporary program that failed to attract enough applicants and several states have experimented with similar initiatives.
Sorry, Pat. Here in the Unifour, people know what it's like to be out of work and to struggle with health care and insurance costs. We happen to think the individual benefits of Obamacare are pretty damn necessary, even when we hate calling it Obamacare.
And if there's hope for health care reform even in fire-engine red NC-10, the rest of the country is asking what the Republicans plan to do after a repeal of Obamacare, too.