Healthcare debate heats up 13th District race

Local News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Democratic Congressional Candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan is turning up the heat in the 13th District by attacking her opponent, Republican Congressman Rodney Davis’ record on healthcare. 

Friday, at a large press conference at her Springfield campaign office, she bashed Davis for his attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and accused him of, “shamelessly putting thousands of Illinoisans’ healthcare at risk.” 

She hammered down on a claim Democratic candidates across the country are echoing on the campaign trail. She says the Republican alternative to the ACA, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), would remove protections for millions of people with pre-existing conditions. 

“Congressman Davis voted 11 times to take away protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” says Londrigan. “I want to make sure we protect our neighbors and our community and protect our healthcare.”

While Londrigan admits the ACA isn’t perfect and costs are too high, she says tossing it out would be a mistake. Londrigan told voters she’s the only candidate they can trust to maintain protections on Capitol Hill. 

Before Londrigan took the podium, three local supporters struggling with illnesses shared their struggles with healthcare coverage. One of them, 54-year old Connie Maggie of Springfield, told the room she fears for her life if Davis is re-elected and Republicans repeal the ACA. 

“It was very very difficult then and it scares me that we may go back there,” says Maggie. 

Maggie considers herself the poster child for patients reliant on Obama Care with pre-existing conditions. She suffers from nearly a dozen genetic disorders, making it impossible to work. She’s on medical disability.

Since 2010, under Obamacare mandates, insurance companies can not deny someone health coverage because of current health issues. Insurance companies are also barred from charging more based on age.

Under the Republican alternative which, fell short by Sen. John McCain’s single vote back in March 2017, insurers would have a way to get around those mandates. It would allow states to apply for waivers. By law, insurers still wouldn’t be allowed to outright deny people coverage based on pre-existing conditions, but it would open the opportunity if someone doesn’t maintain continuous coverage. 

Still, President Donald Trump and Republicans, including Congressman Davis, contend no one with pre-existing conditions would lose coverage. Last week, Davis and more than two dozen Congressional Republicans sponsored a resolution vowing to protect patients with pre-existing health problems.

At her presser, Londrigan called the move political. 

“That non-binding resolution bares zero legal weight,” says Londrigan. “Let’s not kid ourselves here that resolution had nothing do with reaffirming support. It had only to do with preserving his job.” 

Davis, who attended a cancer research roundtable event across town the same hour, fired back. 

“A lot of things are said in politics that just aren’t true. Unfortunately, my opponent today showed that she’s willing to bend the truth,” said Davis. “The sheer facts are that pre-existing condition coverage had multiple layers of protections and that bill was going to save patients money in premiums ’cause right now we have an affordability problem in healthcare.” 

He says right now, the ACA is hurting working-class families more than helping them. He accuses Londrigan of purposely misleading voters ahead of Election Day. 

“If we don’t do something, and don’t try to address this affordability problems, standing up for the status quo is only going to hurt families,” says Davis. 

Healthcare access is an issue which hits close to home for both candidates. Londrigan kicked off her campaign by launching a TV ad where she shared stories of her son’s life-threatening condition. During the primaries she made her fight to keep to the ACA a top priority.

Just this week, Davis released his own TV ad featuring his wife. She’s a colon cancer survivor. In the commercial she defends her husband against accusations he ould strip healthcare protections. The ad is what prompted Londrigan’s Friday press conference.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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