Supporters in Delaware defend healthcare reform

 Meredith Seitz talks about the benefits of healthcare reform for students and those under 26 years old. (Gene Ashley/WHYY)

Meredith Seitz talks about the benefits of healthcare reform for students and those under 26 years old. (Gene Ashley/WHYY)

Supporters of health care reform in Delaware laid out their defense of the changes, ahead of a town hall scheduled in Wilmington, Thursday night, hosted by former Republican U.S. Senator from South Carolina Jim DeMint.

As Delaware prepares to launch open enrollment for its Health Insurance Marketplace on Oct. 1, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services Rita Landgraf says state leaders are trying to get the facts out about the Affordable Care Act’s implementation to the tens of thousands of Delawareans without health insurance.  

“We are focusing on the 90,000 individuals who do not have insurance and those individuals who might want to shop around for other types of insurance,” Landgraf said.

State Rep. Mike Barbieri, D-Newark, says the reform act gives middle class families health care security and must be preserved.  “We need to make sure that they can’t repeal this, that they won’t repeal this, and that we fight to make sure that all people in the United States have insurance and have the ability to get quality health care.”

The Heritage Foundation, which is now led by former South Carolina Sen. DeMint, says its goal is the exact opposite.  It wants the Affordable Care Act defunded and repealed.

One of the key components of the Affordable Care Act is its prohibition of denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.  That’s helped people like Kat Caudle, who suffers from a joint disorder that causes muscle spasms and chronic pain.  

She had been denied coverage after returning to school because of her condition.  Since the reform act was passed in 2010, Caudle has been able to get coverage and get the prescriptions she needs to be able to manage the pain.  “I no longer have to let my pre-existing condition decide when I’m making my next move.  I, like 84,000 Delawareans, no longer have to worry about the fact that I have a pre-existing condition and can’t get help for it.”

Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace will open for enrollment on Oct. 1.  Delawareans will have until Dec. 15 to enroll if they want coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014.  They’ll still be able to enroll for coverage in the 2014 plan year through March 31, 2014.

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