Local group wants another Congressman Perry town hall

Jana Benscoter

On Wednesday, the same day the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is scheduled to publish its latest scoring on the Republicans’ American Health Care Act, a local group of advocates plan to show up at U.S. Rep. Scott Perry’s York office to send him a message.

More than 600 people have signed a petition, circulated by the grassroots group Indivisible YORK, requesting another town hall meeting. Perry held a town hall at Red Lion Middle School on March 18.

Members of Indivisible YORK want to know why Perry voted for President Donald Trump’s plan  they say doesn’t make health care financially manageable for people with pre-existing conditions. They say the new plan is going to be less affordable than the  Affordable Care Act.

“We’re dropping off 43 helium balloons to represent the 43,000 of his constituents who will lose health care,” co-founder of Indivisible YORK Marta Peck said. “There were 57,000 people in his district who got health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Those numbers are based on the first CBO scoring of the Trumpcare bill.”

Peck, of Springettsbury Township, said the group is going to Perry’s Springettsbury Township office, at 2209 East Market St., on Wednesday with a small delegation of people who have pre-existing conditions.

She said the group wants another face-to-face town hall because they fear they won’t be able to afford premiums under Trumpcare, and that benefits packages won’t meet their needs.

“You represent us; you’re not protecting us,” Peck said. “If the market could have worked it out, there would have been no need for the Affordable Care Act.”

People with pre-existing conditions believe they will be placed in high-risk insurance pools, she said, and they fear that the cost to subsidize those plans will increase.

“Perry said online that people with pre-existing conditions are fully protected because of the MacArthur amendment," Peck said. “When really, all that does is offer a way to get around providing full care for all persons needing health care.”

The Meadows-MacArthur amendment allows states to seek waivers that turn back the clock to pre-Affordable Care Act days. That means the ban on allowing carriers to charge more based on a person’s health background — those with pre-existing conditions — wouldn’t exist anymore.

She said Republicans are “disingenuous” when they call the Affordable Care Act a “poor piece of legislation.”

“The reason the exchanges are collapsing ... I hate to make this partisan, is that the Republicans have not provided the funding during this transition period," Peck said. "They knew they’d have a hard time trying to define pricing to keep the market stable. Republicans haven’t appropriated those funds. It’s not working because they are deliberately undermining it.”

Perry’s spokeswoman Brandy Brown said his staff is working on the logistics for the next town hall.

“Congressman Perry has conducted about 20 town hall meetings since being elected to Congress, with the last one being just over two months ago,” she explained.

“We’ve been clear from the beginning that there will be regular in-person town halls, Facebook town halls and teletown halls for constituents to engage with the Congressman. He will continue to do so in the future,” Brown said.

Brown said Perry believes in his vote. She said he will continue to maintain an open dialogue with those whom have differing viewpoints than his.

“The American Health Care Act goes to extensive lengths to protect those with pre-existing conditions, something that I support," Perry said. "We need to get the costs of health care down, get government bureaucrats and insurance companies out from in-between patients and doctors and protect the most vulnerable; this bill achieves these goals."

Perry continued, "the Act prohibits the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions and prevents insurance companies from rescinding coverage to these vulnerable citizens."

"It prevents premium increases as long as they maintain continuous coverage," Perry said. "In addition, the bill sets aside $100 billion to help states with high-risk pools and other innovations — $15 million for maternity care, mental health care and substance-abuse treatment and another $15 billion for a federal invisible risk-sharing program — an innovative way to ensure people can access affordable coverage. After Maine and Wisconsin adopted similar reforms, people with pre-existing conditions continued to have access to health care and prices stabilized often much lower than current rates.”