Letter to Editor: Congressman Harris Should Not Repeal Affordable Care Act

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I’m deeply concerned that Congressman Andy Harris will vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act against the best interests of Marylanders, particularly the vulnerable communities he represents on the Eastern Shore. As a family physician serving the Eastern Shore’s neediest communities, I can tell you first hand that access to health insurance improves health. Investing in health has vast societal benefits, from helping our children to be better learners to increasing the productivity of working families.

Since the law was passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has helped 278,000 Marylanders gain access to healthcare. Maryland’s most vulnerable people such as children, people with disabilities, seniors and people living in poverty can more easily obtain and keep health insurance coverage. Marylanders can obtain vital preventive care that saves lives and lowers healthcare costs. Women are no longer discriminated against under the Affordable Care Act. Marylanders can now obtain information about the exact cost and coverage of each plan available. Yet, Congressman Harris voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and voted to repeal it twice, most recently on January 13, 2017.

Last week a gentleman in my office explained that his diabetes has been uncontrolled for years and that he has not sought testing for his chest pain because he did not have health insurance until recently. A pregnant woman postponed important testing I had recommended for her high-risk pregnancy while waiting to be added to her husband’s plan. Stories such as these are common within the communities I serve. People need easier access to health insurance, not more barriers. We need to improve our existing health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act, not start from scratch with a new program that will take years to implement and disrupt the services we are already trying to provide.

Clearly our healthcare system is far from perfect. However we need to continue expanding coverage, not cancel it. We need to improve and expand services under existing insurance coverage, not limit it further. My position on this issue is not unique. On January 2, 2017, organizations representing hundreds of thousands of doctors throughout the country (The American Academy of Family Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatricians, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and The American College of Physicians) released a letter to Congress, supporting wide-spread insurance coverage in our country and voicing caution against dismantling the system we are working to build and improve.

Congressman Harris should work in the spirit of bipartisanship with Senator Van Hollen and the rest of the Maryland Congressional delegation to improve the Affordable Care Act, rather than dismantle it to the detriment of our communities. I urge readers to call Congressman Harris’ office today and ask him not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Christina Drostin, MD, MPH

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Letters to Editor

  1. Thank you Dr. Drostin for pointing out the need for Affordable Health Insurance. I do not understand why Congressman Harris, also a doctor wants to repeal it.
    Republicans say they have a better plan,but have yet to reveal it.

  2. Deirdre LaMotte says:

    I believe that a group of Republicans will do anything to repeal the ACA. In fact, they would do away with anything that has to do with social programs since the 1930’s.
    With the ACA, Harris would vote to repeal immediately. He is part of this ridiculous group who view any government programs as an anethama. Look out social security.
    So, since he is gerrymandered, why should he care?

    • Keith Thompson says:

      “So, since he is gerrymandered, why should he care?”

      Exactly, so why isn’t any of the anger actually directed at those responsible for gerrymandering the Eastern Shore out of representation in Congress?

  3. Joseph Lill says:

    Andy Harris has great Health Care…why should he worry about anyone else? That would be so unlike him!

    • Andy Harris, has great health care and a great job, because we citizens of District 1 keep voting him in. Since we vote him in, each time, he feels empowered to do as he thinks we want. Don’t blame him, blame us. We don’t want him to repeal ACA, then vote him out! Stop whinning about we want and do something about it, we have the votes and the power of reasoning in talking with our fellow voters on the other side of the Bay, talking to them will send back to his practice.

      • The only way to take Harris out is to beat him in the RePub primary as the Dems have shown that they can’t present a viable candidate. And… no RePub of substance is going to run against him either. Of course, maybe Mr President could promote him out of his job, which still leaves us with a probable RePub congressman who supports repeal of the ACA anyway.

  4. Gren Whitman says:

    We were informed by Harris’ aide (a brave woman) at a citizen-organized “town meeting” in Stevensville last week that our 1st District “representative” is betting there’ll be a new GOP health plan ready by the end of March.
    And given that, Dr. Harris plans to attend a town meeting in Easton IN PERSON on March 31 (time/place TBA) to explain the new plan.
    Believe that, and I have some magic beans I’ll sell you…cheap!
    REMARKS: The Stevensville meeting was standing-room-only. Per his MO to avoid his constituents so that he can mis-represent them easier, Dr. Harris was marked “absent.” Gene Ransom, executive director of Med-Chi (Maryland’s AMA affiliate) and a former Queen Anne’s commissioner, knows more about health care and health insurance than the entire U.S. Congress combined. The GOP is quickly learning that it cannot “repeal-and-replace” the Affordable Care Act and expect to remain the majority in Congress. The “public option” for health insurance is reappearing on the table!

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