My Facebook live town hall on healthcare

Yesterday, just a day before my Republican colleagues in the Senate released their draft health care legislation, I held my first Facebook Live town hall to answer questions from Delawareans about health care reform.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) isn’t perfect. That’s why I’ve introduced a bill that would inject more stability into the individual insurance market, increase competition among insurers and lower premiums for consumers. In fact, my bill would lower premiums by 10 to 15 percent.

Unfortunately, the draft health care legislation released by Senate Republicans today would force Delawareans to pay more in premiums and deductibles for less benefits. This plan would kick tens of thousands of Delawareans off of their health insurance.

During my Facebook town hall on health care, dozens of folks from up and down the First State asked me questions about the ACA, the Republican health care plan and prospects for bipartisan health care reform. You can watch my entire town hall here, or check out some excerpts from my Facebook Live town hall below.

Susan in Bridgeville asked, “Will the [Republican] health care bill maintain mental health and substance use coverage as an essential health benefit in order to prevent suicide and abuse and address the growing epidemic of opioid abuse?”

“…The largest source of funds we use in this country to treat opioid abuse is through Medicaid. It’s for people from all walks of life. It’s our neighbors, our family members, people we work with. A lot of people sadly. We know treatment works, and we want to make sure people have access to treatment… So if we cut Medicaid by $800 million dollars like the House bill does, making cuts over the next 10 years, a lot of that treatment would go away.”

Deborah Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, asked, “How can we expect to reduce healthcare costs if we don’t switch from sick care to prevention?”

“If you look at the increase in health care costs in the place where most people get their coverage, that’s the employer-paid health care plans. A number of employers around the country are doing what Safeway did a number of years ago…. Not denying coverage to people, their employees, but incentivizing them to take better care of themselves and actually to prevent episodes that are going to cost a lot of money. And it works! That’s what we tried to do with the Affordable Care Act. We have annual physicals now, paid through health care.”

Jennifer in Clayton asked, “If the Republican American Health Care Act fails, do you think this will open doors for bipartisan conversations on healthcare?”

“I was just on the Senate floor. I won’t say who I was talking to, but I was talking to one of my Republican colleagues. We talked about this very question…Most people in the country want us to preserve the parts of the Affordable Care Act that need to be preserved, and fix the parts that need to be fixed… We need to work this out together.”

I would greatly appreciate hearing your feedback about our Facebook Live town hall. I look forward to hearing from you, and it’s my hope that you’ll be able to join us for our next Facebook Live town hall in the coming weeks.