More health care questions in Tipton tele-town hall

Ryan Summerlin
Scott Tipton

Questions about potential changes in American health care took the spotlight during a Monday tele-town hall with Rep. Scott Tipton.

The congressman hosted a similar phone-in conference with constituents in March, but since then Tipton voted in favor of the American Health Care Act, helping the repeal and replace effort pass the Republican-dominated House of Representatives in May.

The congressman said he is waiting to see what further changes the GOP health care bill undergoes in the Senate. And he repeatedly stressed that reports of people losing Medicaid coverage due to the GOP bill are wrong.

Estimates by the Congressional Budget Office indicating that tens of millions will not be covered makes it sounds like people are having something taken away, but that is not the case, said Tipton.

Under the House health care bill, if you qualify for Medicaid, whether it’s because you’re low income or disabled, you will still receive those dollars, he said.

One caller, a 61-year-old woman from Grand Junction, asked the congressman about coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and Tipton said the House bill strictly bars insurers from denying a person or kicking them off their plan for having a pre-existing condition. The representative said he believes that stipulation will also be in the Senate health care bill.

“We all know someone dealing with a pre-existing condition,” and irrespective of politics, providing for people with pre-existing conditions is something that everyone seems to agree upon, he said.

Under the Affordable Care Act, premiums have increased by double-digits, and though Americans were promised they could keep their doctors, that they could keep their health care plans if they like them, and that their premiums would drop, those promises were not fulfilled, said the congressman.

“And we’re literally watching the collapse of the ACA,” with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield recently having pulled out of the ACA in Wisconsin, and rumors that it will pull out in part of Colorado, he said.

Health insurance costs have also been burdensome on small businesses, a caller from Grand Junction said. Tipton suggests that health care savings accounts, and being able to increase contributions to them with pretax dollars, are a good solution, to which many small businesses have said they are willing to contribute.

Changes to the health care system would also allow small business and other local entities to cooperate and negotiate lower insurance costs. Tipton has also been in favor of allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines to expand the choices in health insurance, whereas much of the state has only one insurer.

Many hospitals have also been challenged by patients seeking primary care from the emergency department. Tipton said he wants to see increased funding to community health care clinics to combat that problem.

Tipton said he’s also been involved in addressing problems with the Veterans Affairs Veterans Choice Program, specifically with VA facilities not getting access to that money.

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