TWINSBURG — U.S. Congressman David Joyce (R, Ohio-14) says that while the country needs a better health care plan, he didn't feel that the GOP-led Affordable Health Care Act fit the bill.
The measure, which would have established the AHCA and repealed the Affordable Care Act, was pulled March 24 before a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, due to a lack of votes in support of the measure.
"My prior votes to repeal all or parts of Obamacare underscore what I have long argued: we need a better healthcare system," Joyce said in a March 24 email to the Twinsburg Bulletin. "After listening to constituents, business leaders and medical professionals throughout my district, I came to the conclusion the American Health Care Act was not a better solution."
Members from both Forward United Northeast Ohio and District 14 Voters visited the Twinsburg satellite office at Twinsburg Government Center for Joyce March 22 and 23, respectively, to express concerns about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the GOP's replacement American Health Care Act.
Twinsburg resident John Denker, a member of Forward United Northeast Ohio, was among those who spoke March 22 to Nick Ciofani, district director for Joyce's office. Denker said 17 adults and 2 children attended, relaying health care stories and concerns.
Denker said he was pleased that the Congressman listened to constituents.
"We need a better solution," Denker said of fixing elements of the ACA.
"The Affordable Care Act was a complex issue, because it covers a complex topic, health care," he said. "It would be wonderful if [Joyce] can be a part of the effort to improve Obamacare, rather than the slash and burn approach."
Denker said the American Health Care Act was not the answer.
"I think the bill is so fundamentally flawed, I think they should just vote it down," Denker said. "There is no one thing they can do to fix it. It's just a tax cut for the wealthy. They should try to work with the ACA."
Denker said that even a straight repeal of the ACA -- Obamacare -- would be better than the AHCA.
"If they did a straight repeal of the ACA, you would [still] have 1 million more insured than with the GOP plan," Denker said. "It's terrible, just terrible."
"I'm eager to support legislation that doesn't reduce funding in the Medicare trust fund and actually helps lower healthcare costs for the more than 465,000 people in my district who obtain their health insurance via their employer," Joyce said. "Those individuals, who make up 65 percent of the district, have seen nothing but higher premiums [under the ACA], higher deductibles, and higher co-pays. We need to find solutions to help them and their families. The middle class cannot keep bearing the brunt of everything.
"I also want a process that is more deliberate, open and transparent, and that is focused actually on the doctor-patient relationship and lowering costs for everyone," Joyce said.
People ages 50 to 64 years would have been be hit the hardest under the AHCA, Denker said, particularly the poor.
Twinsburg resident Brynda Ivan, a member of District 14 Voters, was among more than a dozen people who crowded into the congressman's Twinsburg office March 23 as part of the group's constituency. More people waited outside.
Ivan delivered a petition with more than 1,000 signatures from District 14 residents, who Ivan said were opposed to the AHCA. She wanted to present the petition on the seventh anniversary of the signing of the ACA, signed into law in 2010.
"I think it's really important to note that because of the ACA, nearly 1 million Ohioans got health care," Ivan said. "The [AHCA] fails Ohio and Ohioans badly, especially people who are already struggling."
About 76,000 people in just District 14 alone could have lost their healthcare coverage under the new plan, Ivan said.
"We need to have Rep. Joyce ... keep his campaign promise for lower rates and coverage for everyone," she said.
Joyce's Chief of Staff Dino DiSanto said the Congressman appreciates the petition and feedback, and "will keep it in mind" moving forward.