Republican Health Care Sabotage Threatens Coverage for Nearly 600,000 Central New Yorkers With Pre-Existing Conditions


Central New Yorkers Share Stories Of Life-Saving Coverage Offered Under Affordable Care Act

 Congressmembers John Katko and Claudia Tenney Endangered Coverage For Thousands Of Their Own Constituents By Supporting Republican Tax Scam

SYRACUSE — The Trump Administration’s decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act against a lawsuit brought by Republican-controlled states could cost nearly 600,000 Central New Yorkers their insurance coverage, by allowing insurers to once again deny coverage because a patient suffers from a pre-existing condition. Speak Out Central New York today highlighted the stories of four Central New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions for whom the ACA is the difference between access to treatment and financial ruin.

There are 585,600 Central New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions in the districts of Congressman John Katko and Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, according to the Center for American Progress. Because of Katko’s and Tenney’s support for the TrumpTax in December, which repealed the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, a coalition of Republican-led states filed suit to continue to undermine the ACA and make it possible for insurers to deny coverage on the basis of medical history.

The constituents of Katko’s and Tenney’s districts below all shared their stories as part of “Central New Yorkers Speak Out,” Speak Out CNY’s ongoing social media campaign to show both Congressmembers the devastating impacts of their votes to undermine American health care:

Stan Scobie, a resident of Congresswoman Tenney’s district, shared a story of how the Affordable Care Act saved his son’s life:

“Just six months before the Affordable Care Act went into effect, my son suffered from sudden cardiac arrest. He died twice before finally being resuscitated. He survived, but because he was uninsured, faced with more than $500,000 in medical bills and ultimately declared medical bankruptcy.

“Because of the ACA, my son has been able to become well-employed and medically insured. To Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, who has repeatedly tried to take our health care away, I want to say that the ACA didn’t just save my son’s life; it saved his future.”

James St. Jacques, also from Tenney’s district, relies on his coverage for affordable access to life-saving medications:

“A few years ago, I took a terrible fall and was in a coma for a week. I would still be in over $40,000 of medical debt today if it wasn’t for the patient advocate at UHS Wilson Medical Center who helped me sign up for Medicaid. I am incredibly grateful to her for saving me from financial ruin.  I also have a heart condition that requires me to take very expensive, yet life-saving medications. Without them, my heart would stop beating. And without Medicaid, there’s no way I would be able to afford that medicine. I hope Congresswoman Tenney thinks about people like me next time she goes to vote to take healthcare away from her constituents.”

Rebecca R.G., a resident in John Katko’s district, lives with multiple conditions that insurers regularly used to block access to coverage before the Affordable Care Act took effect:

“I have all of the preexisting conditions: female, allergies, asthma, chronic pain, etc. One of the best guarantees of the Affordable Care Act for me was that whether I am employed or not, I will always be able to get insurance at a fair price that won’t bankrupt me. When the tax bill repealed the individual mandate, it brought back fears that if someday I am unemployed, I will be unable to afford health insurance and the medications that I need in order to function. We need everyone to chip in so that those who need care can get it.”

Chuck Reavis, another constituent of Tenney’s, could be denied coverage because he requires ongoing treatment for diabetes:

“When I was 9, I was diagnosed with type I diabetes, and I quickly learned it would be an immense mental and economic burden. My kidneys started to fail, and I was paying almost $55,000 a month for dialysis. With the $1 million lifetime cap, I was months away from completely capping out and running out of money. The ACA was passed just as I was about to hit my limit. It is solely thanks to the ACA that I am not only alive, but no longer have to worry about how I will afford life-saving care. Claudia Tenney wants to take away our health care; she couldn’t be more wrong.”