Hundreds of Pennsylvanians joined and raised concerns about rising health care costs, access to mental health care, and the opioid crisis.
MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — During a telephone town hall this evening, Pennsylvania State Rep. Maureen Madden called for checks on big health insurance corporations, an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, and for corporations to pay their fair share. The call, hosted by the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), reached over 2,000 people with a peak of over 400 people on the line at a time, and focused on how progressives are working to ensure access to quality affordable health care is a priority in upcoming state budget negotiations. Rep. Madden was joined on the call by Silas Russell, the Policy Director for SEIU Healthcare PA and Board Member for the PA Health Action Fund, and Nikki Lu, the Pennsylvania State Director for SiX. All three participants fielded questions from local residents for a full hour.
A diverse group of Pennsylvanians joined the call, including a registered nurse, a truck driver diagnosed with cancer who was able to access insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act, self-employed residents, and low and middle-income residents concerned about rising health insurance costs.
Residents on the call kicked it off by asking what Pennsylvania Democrats are doing to ensure access to affordable, quality health care.
“We need to make sure that corporations are paying their fair share and not taking advantage of working families that need access to affordable, quality care” said Rep. Madden, D-Monroe County.
Additional questions from residents covered: Why health insurance premiums keep rising in the Affordable Care Act marketplace; how Pennsylvania is addressing the opioid crisis and addiction; concerns about hospital mergers and insurance monopolies limiting patient choices and raising prices; why it’s important for health care workers to be able to join unions; whether recent tax cuts would harm investments in education and health care; the lack of coverage for mental health services in many insurance plans; and the cost of expanding health insurance access to all.
The event was open to the public and members of the press. This was the final telephone town hall in a series of four held in May and June laying out progressive Pennsylvania legislator’s priorities in upcoming state budget negotiations, including: education; raising wages for working people; investing in crumbling infrastructure to put more Pennsylvanians to work; and ensuring access to affordable health care. The town halls were sponsored by the State Innovation Exchange, a national resource and strategy center that supports progressive state legislators.