Worthington — On Thursday, January 26, constituents from Ohio’s 12th congressional district delivered a petition with 1,080 signatures to Congressman Pat Tiberi’s office demanding that he hold a town hall meeting to discuss his efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Constituents provided a deadline of 10 a.m. Jan. 30, for a response from Tiberi’s office.
Monday morning, Tiberi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nichols stated: “We do not have a town hall on the books.” While Nichols suggested that constituents ask to meet with the Congressman individually, he acknowledged that the Congressman’s office could not accommodate 1,000 individual meetings and declined to provide a reason for not scheduling a public forum.
As of Jan. 30, the petition has 1,293 signatures.
For some petition signers, the ACA has been critical. “As a Type 1 diabetic, I have no other choice for health insurance,” said Mindy Hedges, of Delaware County. “There are more than 700,000 other diabetics living in Ohio and many of us have been turned down by insurance companies because of this pre-existing condition.”
John Russell, who led the petition effort, vows to continue to press Tiberi for a public discussion.
“We’re not giving up,” said Russell, the owner of Fall Creek Farm in Galena. “For many people in Tiberi’s district, in Ohio, and across the country, having health care through the ACA is vital. Holding a public meeting to listen to constituents is the least a member of Congress can do before making any decisions that could be devastating for so many people.”
Repealing the ACA before a new bill is ready could result in nearly one million Ohioans losing their health coverage, according to an Urban Institute study (http://www.urban.org/research/publication/implications-partial-repeal-aca-through-reconciliation).
On Jan. 26, Representative Pat Tiberi spoke with Rusty Cates on Mansfield’s WMAN News & Talk.
“We are not going to pull the rug out from under people,” Tiberi said. “That is the last thing we want to do. Obamacare has taken seven years to go into effect, and it wasn’t totally in effect yet. The transition period out of this is going to take some time. As we transition out of it and on to something else, we are not going to, again, pull the rug out from under folks. That is pretty important.
“We are figuring out how to do that rationally, instead of having a long 2,700 page bill that Nancy Pelosi famously said we have to pass it so we can figure out what is in it. We are going to do this in [small pieces], so people can understand it.
“We want to make sure people have more choices than they do today… So they can actually keep their doctor and [have] more choices in their health care coverage that [will be] right for them. We also want to make it portable, meaning if you change jobs you can take your health care with you, just like you can take your auto insurance with you.”
Tiberi’s office said House Republicans unveiled a health care blueprint in June 2016 with priorities for reform that include:
· Moving health care decisions away from Washington and to where they belong: with patients, their families, and their doctors.
· Giving patients the right tools, like Health Savings Accounts, to make their health insurance more portable and affordable.
· Breaking down barriers that restrict choice and prevent Americans from picking the plan that is best for them and their family.
· Providing coverage protections and peace of mind for all Americans—regardless of age, income, medical conditions, or circumstances.
· Empowering small businesses to provide employees with the kind of affordable health coverage that meets their needs.
Information for this story was provided by representatives of John Russell and Pat Tiberi.