18. That's how many counties in Ohio will not have a single insurance option after Anthem announced it would stop selling Obamacare in our state. Just last week, Anthem also announced it would exit the Obamacare marketplaces in two more states -- Indiana and Wisconsin.
Now, the Affordable Care Act has helped some Americans. But it has also failed to provide care or choices for far too many families across the country. These failures aren't just about numbers and statistics; they represent the real stories of real people -- including right here in Ohio's Second District.
Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma held a listening session with people around the country who have been failed by Obamacare. Included in this roundtable discussion was my constituent, Connie, of New Richmond, Ohio, whose plan on the exchange did not cover any of her area doctors. Here's what she said:
"I think one of the things that keeps ringing in my mind that I heard over the last eight years was, 'affordable health care for everyone.' I want to know who everyone is, because it wasn't me. It wasn't me and it isn't my family, because they're struggling too," Mays said, her voice beginning to break. "So I'm begging you. Please, please, whatever it takes. We've got to get this fixed. It's destroying people. It's destroying me."
Pence put his hand on Mays' back and hugged her as she cried. He then thanked the group for "sharing your heart."
"I promise you, the president and I ... are not going to stop working until we get this thing done," Pence said.
Watch the full discussion below:
while Obamacare has helped some, we cannot continue to leave individuals like Connie, and her family, without choices and without care. The process to fix it is tough, no question. But if we can continue on a path towards patient-centered care that increases choices, lowers costs, and protects the vulnerable, it will be more than worth it.
Yours in service,
P.S. Just this week, Anthem issued a statement
supporting the Senate Republican bill to provide relief from Obamacare, stating that it "will markedly improve the stability of the individual market and moderate premium increases." Read the Senate's working draft for yourself, here