Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) cited the experiences of two Loudoun residents while defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the Senate floor on Feb. 9.
The Senate was technically debating the nomination of Congressman Tom Price of Georgia as President Donald Trump’s selection for Secretary of Health and Human Services. In reality, it became a discussion about the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare.
Price, who was confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 10, has been an outspoken critic of the sweeping health care reform passed in 2010, and has supported its repeal.
Kaine said he had received 1,654 emails to his web site from Virginians telling his office how they had benefited from the ACA. He read aloud more than two dozen of those emails.
One of those was from 24-year-old Leesburg resident Shannon Linford. In her letter, Linford said she suffered from a half dozen chronic illnesses and takes up to 15 prescriptions a day. She wrote that she would not be able to build a life for herself without the provisions of the ACA, which allows her to stay on her parents’ insurance until she is 26 and forbids insurance companies from denying her coverage because of her pre-existing condition.
“Things are looking up thanks to the provisions of this remarkable act of legislation,” Linford wrote. “Revoking this law would be criminal and would destroy lives and destroy futures.”
Kaine also read aloud from a letter submitted by Cynthia Elliott of Hillsboro. Elliott said through the ACA she was now able to afford health care, writing “it’s a life saver.”
After reading the letters, Kaine again stressed his support for the health care act.
“We should not even be contemplating a repeal of a law that provides so much good to so many,” Kaine said.
Fellow Virginia Sen. Mark Warner preceded Kaine on the Senate floor to defend the ACA and oppose Price.
“The fact is, like it or not, ACA has played a critical role in driving healthcare innovation, protecting consumers and reducing overall healthcare spending,” Warner said.
Opposition to ACA has most recently focused on evidence that ACA medical plans often include such high deductibles that they are not practical, that premium costs have still left many unable to afford their own health care, and that too few options exists in many states.
Defenders in Loudoun and across the country have said the ACA has provided insurance for millions of Americans, and in some cases saved their lives. Local groups like Indivisible Loudoun 20180 have pressed local lawmakers on their plans regarding health care.
Republicans in Congress continue to discuss the replacement of ACA with something that maintains key non-controversial aspects of the current approach.