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TWINSBURG -- U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R, Ohio-14) says that while the country needs a better healthcare plan, he didn't feel that the GOP-led Affordable Health Care Act fit the bill.
The legislation, which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act and established the porposed AHCA, was pulled March 24 before a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives due to a lack of votes in support of the measure.
"My prior votes to repeal all or parts of Obamacare underscore what I have long argued: we need a better healthcare system," Joyce told the Twinsburg Bulletin March 24. "After listening to constituents, business leaders and medical professionals throughout my district, I came to the conclusion the American Health Care Act was not a better solution."
Members from both Forward United Northeast Ohio and District 14 Voters visited the Twinsburg satellite office for Joyce at Twinsburg Government Center March 22 and 23, respectively, to express concerns about the repeal of the ACA and replacement with the AHCA.
Twinsburg resident John Denker, a member of Forward United Northeast Ohio, was among those who spoke March 22 to Joyce District Director Nick Ciofani. Denker said 17 adults and 2 children attended, relaying health care stories and concerns.
Denker said he was pleased that the Congressman listened to his constituents.
"We need a better solution" to fixing elements of the Affordable Care Act, Denker said.
"The Affordable Care Act was a complex issue, because it covers a complex topic, health care," he said. "It would be wonderful if [Joyce] can be a part of the effort to improve Obamacare, rather than the slash and burn approach."
Denker said the American Health Care Act was not the answer.
"I think the bill is so fundamentally flawed, I think they should just vote it down," Denker said. "There is no one thing they can do to fix it. It's just a tax cut for the wealthy. They should try to work with the ACA."
Denker said that even a straight repeal of the ACA would be better than the proposed American Health Care Act.
"If they did a straight repeal of the ACA, you would have 1 million more insured than with the GOP's plan," Denker said. "It's terrible, just terrible."
"I'm eager to support legislation that doesn't reduce funding in the Medicare trust fund and actually helps lower healthcare costs for the more than 465,000 people in my district who obtain their health insurance via their employer," Joyce said. "Those individuals, who make up 65 percent of the district, have seen nothing but higher premiums, higher deductibles, and higher co-pays. We need to find solutions to help them and their families. The middle class cannot keep bearing the brunt of everything.
"I also want a process that is more deliberate, open and transparent, and that is focused actually on the doctor-patient relationship and lowering costs for everyone."
People ages 50 to 64 would have been hit the hardest, Denker said, particularly the poor.
Twinsburg resident Brynda Ivan, a member of District 14 Voters, was among more than a dozen people who crowded into the congressman's Twinsburg office March 23. More people waited outside.
Ivan brought a petition with more than 1,000 signatures from District 14 residents who Ivan said were opposed to the American Health Care Act. She said she wanted to present the petition on the anniversary day of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010.
"I think it's really important to note that because of the ACA, nearly 1 million Ohioans got health care," Ivan said. "[The new health care proposal] fails Ohio and Ohioans badly, especially people who are already struggling."
About 76,000 people in just District 14 alone could have lost healthcare coverage under the AHCA, Ivan said.
"We need to have Rep. Joyce ... keep his campaign promise for lower rates and coverage for everyone," Ivan said.
Joyce's Chief of Staff Dino DiSanto said the Congressman appreciates the petition and feedback, and "will keep it in mind" moving forward.