Liberal groups organize health care forum

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Both political parties agree that health care costs are rising. But while conservative initiatives work toward scrapping the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, local liberal groups are trying to “educate” voters about the consequences of eliminating President Barack Obama’s landmark bill.

Friday afternoon, Allen and Hardin for Election Action and Democracy joined forces with two Columbus-based political groups, Protect Our Care and For Our Future Ohio, to organize a five-person forum that discussed the challenges of the American health care system.

“What we’ve learned as we talked about health care is it’s so complicated that people don’t know how (voting) is going to affect their lives,” AHEAD spokeswoman Lisa Robeson said.

Robeson explained that people know about the Medicaid expansion in Ohio, but they aren’t aware about the work requirements being considered for Medicaid or how it’s being used to pay for treatments of opioid addicts. Instead, individuals vote with party without considering consequences.

“That’s what we’d like people to know. If you have Type 1 diabetes, what do you ask your candidates?” Robeson said.

The event drew a few first-time political candidates from the Democratic party. Tristam Cheeseman, who is up against Bob Cupp in November, and Vanessa Enoch, Rep. Warren Davidson’s Democratic challenger, both attended the event to learn how to appeal to conservative voters when discussing controversial issue.

Enoch said she decided to attend to see how some of the additional rural issues associated with health care, such as the need for expanded transportation options, can be addressed.

“Anybody who is working full time should have the right to health care,” Enoch said. “People want to see people working and not getting handouts, but what are we saying as a nation when you have to work to get medical care?”

Protect Our Care spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said Ohioans will have more problems with the U.S. health care system if Obamacare is repealed.

One of the larger issues, she said, is the threat of allowing insurance companies to deny someone based on a pre-existing condition, which is currently illegal under the Affordable Care Act. Instead, voters should encourage politicians to “Fix it. Don’t nix it.”

Protect Our Care estimates that 52 percent of people living in Ohio’s 4th Congressional District have a pre-existing condition.

“I can’t imagine anybody not knowing someone with a pre-existing condition,” Wurst said.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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