Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray told UT students and community
members that protecting pre-existing medical conditions is a priority Thursday.
Under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, insurers may not “charge more or deny coverage” on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions.
Democratic candidates running in midterm elections around the country have turned the established protections into a campaign tactic, claiming their Republican counterparts - in an effort to repeal the ACA - endanger coverage for patients with adverse medical history.
“For people who have threats to their health, it’s enough that they have to focus on their treatment and their care...without having to worry that they’re going to be financially ruined because of the way health insurance is handled,” Cordray said.
Republican candidates, including Cordray’s opponent Mike DeWine, insist on maintaining protections in their efforts to repeal and replace the current health care system.
His campaign website emphasizes his commitment to protections.
“Mike DeWine has been clear — he supports protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.”
According to the statement, “he especially understands that health insurance needs to be there when people need it the most. That includes the traditional Medicaid program... People can count on this safety-net program to be there for them.”
PolitiFact, a nonpartisan fact-checking site rated Cordray’s claim that DeWine wanted to allow insurance companies to refuse to pay for pre-existing conditions, as “half-true.”
DeWine entered a Republican lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act in 2011, that, if passed, would have struck down pre-existing condition protections.
Recently DeWine’s been on the defensive, reinforcing his opposition over the individual mandate provision, not the guaranteed protections.
Cordray was joined by local Democratic officials. They picked-apart DeWine’s past health care policy positions.
“I wouldn't trust Mike DeWine to protect my parking space at UT here, let alone my health care,” Ohio State Rep. Teresa Fedor said.
“I don’t trust him to stand up to the big health care companies to keep costs down.”
Toledo City Councilman Nick Komives was just as straightforward.
“[DeWine’s] arguing to strip our rights...shows his true character,” Komives said. “I can’t trust Mike DeWine will protect my health care or the ones that I love.”
For students - many of whom do not have health insurance of their own - coverage policy may not seem like an issue to take into the voting booth.
“Students should care about pre-existing conditions,” second-year medical student Matt Belardo said.
“You shouldn’t be discriminated against” when seeking out coverage. “A lot of these conditions costs tons of money to pay for out of pocket.”
“Right now [students] are covered under their parents’ conditions,” but, the task of finding their own plans “is on the horizon,” Belardo said.
Under the Affordable Care Act, students remain on their parent’s health insurance until age 26.
“If that were to go away and Mike DeWine were to take that away, then students would be at risk as soon as they got out of school,” Cordray said in an interview with the Independent Collegian.
Shifts in health care affect not only individuals and their well-being, but the medical field at large.
UT has an expanding medical program including a strengthened partnership with ProMedica.
Kara Richardson, a fourth-year medical student, backed up by a handful of her colleagues in their white lab coats said that under Cordray and Lieutenant Governor Betty Sutton, she would be able to practice medicine in a way that best matched her values.
“I’m acutely aware of how our next state governor will affect the future of health care.”
With her vote for Cordray, she said she’ll be choosing a “progressive future.”
He “understands that good health care happens when a patient and physician are able to have open dialogue and make health care decisions together unencumbered by harmful and biased laws,” Richardson said.
Request for comment from Mike Dewine’s campaign was not returned at the time of publication.