Blumenthal to bring Obamacare stories to Senate floor

It was a standing room only packed crowd as Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) held his first emergency public hearing on health care (WTNH / Mark Davis)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Monday, Senator Richard Blumenthal was gathering stories at a big public hearing in Hartford. He says his “emergency” public hearings are being held because Republicans in Washington are refusing to have public input on their plan.

Everyone admits that Obamacare isn’t perfect, but there’s no reason to rush a replacement before the public gets to see it, according to Blumenthal.   The Republican leader in the Senate is pushing for a vote on the so-far undisclosed plan, within the next two weeks.

With little more than one day’s notice Connecticut residents and health care advocates jammed what Senator Richard Blumenthal describes as an “Emergency Field Hearing” on the fate of “Obamcare,” formally known as the “Affordable Care Act.”

One of those that told her story way Michele Virshup of Meriden, who was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder in college and was covered for the million dollar treatment costs on her father’s policy because of the A.C.A.  “I am standing here right now because of the Affordable Care Act. It is not an exaggeration to say that without the  Affordable Care Act I lilkely would have died,” Virshup told Blumenthal.

Being covered on your parents plan til age 26, no life time coverage limits, and coverage for pre-existing conditions are all Obamacare staples thought to be on the chopping block. Bonnie Waterhouse of Windsor has son that suffers from Lyme Disease,  “We need to be able to keep the ‘pre-existing condition’ alive in the program.”

There is also concern that the expected rollback in Medicaid funding would affect thousands of Connecticut children.  “By dismantling Medicaid through capped funding, block grants and elimination of Medicaid expansion, those who suffer the most are those who need health care the most,” said Dr. Sandy Carbonari representing the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, is hoping to get 50 votes on an Obamacare replacement plan being worked out by a small group of Senators without any public hearing. The plan is said to contain about 80 percent of the plan passed in  May by the U.S. House.  Sen. Blumenthal saying, “If it’s eighty percent of the House bill it will be 18 million people instead of 23 million people who lose health insurance. It will be 8 billion additional costs for Connecticut instead of 12 billion.”

Blumenthal says he’s planning another one of these health care field hearings somewhere in the state before the end of this week.

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