Schneider Announces Vision For Future of Health Care in America After Covid-19

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Schneider Announces Vision For Future of Health Care in America After Covid-19

Covid Patients Share Their Health Care Challenges

Above: Congressman Brad Schneider with Nancy Frohman and David Bodin

DEERFIELD, IL – Today, Congressman Brad Schneider announced his vision for the future of health care in America after COVID-19. Joining the Zoom call were Dr. Charles Drueck, State Representatives Rita Mayfield and Jonathan Carroll, and Nancy Frohman and David Boden, a couple who survived trips to the ICU with COVID and know the consequences of failing to tackle the disease. Video from the event can be found here

“In America, the richest country in the world, no one should have to choose among paying rent, putting food on the table, and taking the prescriptions they need to stay healthy. Every one of us should have quality and affordable care, from providers we know and trust, close to where we live, when and how we need it,” said Congressman Brad Schneider. “I hope that we will be able to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act, get prescription drug costs down, add a public option, and protect those with pre-existing conditions, including those who have suffered from Covid, as anything less would be tragic and unjust in the richest country in the world.”

Brad announced his support for:

  • Improving access to care by ensuring health plans cover essential services 

  • Always fighting for protections for pre-existing conditions 

  • Allowing parents to keep their kids on their plans to age 26

  • Providing for preventative care at no or low patient cost

  • Supporting a public option. A government-sponsored health insurance plan would compete in the marketplace with private insurance and promote competition to drive down overall costs and return the focus more appropriately on patients and their needs. 

“We’re all tired of the pandemic. We’re all tired of what we had to go through to do this. There are hundreds of thousands of families who are still grieving. There are almost nine million of us who are still dealing with ongoing recovery and ongoing symptoms and wondering what the pre-existing conditions will mean,” Nancy Frohman of Vernon Hills said, “We both now have pre-existing conditions and I don’t know how that will be viewed. I have a 19- and 21-year old who are worried about if they will get continued coverage under our plan. There is no doubt in my mind that we are alive because we are lucky enough to have good health insurance. While I am lucky, I consider that a right that we should all have, not something that you have by luck. That’s something that should be considered a necessity, not a privilege.” 

“If we had even known in early March what [the President] knew, we might not have been sick. Now I have conditions that will affect me the rest of my life. We’re alive, I’m happy for that. But I have vision issues, that affect my ability to work. I walk with a cane a lot of the time,” David Boden of Vernon Hills said. “We have lifetime issues to deal with. Long haulers are the term we have gotten used to… Comprehensive health care is truly critical for the nation. This has to be done, leadership has to change… Amy Coney Barrett doesn’t care. She’s not affected. This is a mistake: overturning the ACA is foolish for America, not just Democrats or Republicans.” 

Dr. Charles Drueck of Glenview said, “Herd immunity without simple protective practices will lead to many, many more deaths.” 

“The Covid-19 pandemic is an enormous health crisis for our country. The Trump Administration’s mishandling of Covid-19 has put all people, especially minorities, at risk. In high-minority areas such as Waukegan and North Chicago, we have a higher rate of underlying conditions and many residents are either uninsured or have poor quality health care,” said Rep. Rita Mayfield. “We need leadership in Washington to succeed: to trust science, strengthen the Affordable Care Act, address the pandem, and restore both health and economic stability to our nation. Brad I thank you for what you are doing for standing up and demanding access to health care to everyone. As you said, quality health care is a right for everyone, regardless of economic station deserves: the right to be treated, obtain a vaccine, obtain testing, go to work and provide for their families.”

“When you have a President that drives around in a limousine two days after diagnosis and laughing in the face of something that we know sends a wrong message,” said Rep. Jonathan Carroll. “I know that, Congressman Schneider, you have been out ahead of this since day one. Thank God we have people like you in Washington, D.C. who advocate for things like health care on our behalf. Things that every day Americans need, not tax cuts for boats and planes.”

Schneider’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below: 

The United States is approaching 9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, with nearly 230,000 deaths. With 5% of the world’s population, we have consistently remained at close to 20% of the global cases and deaths.  I think we can all agree the richest nation in the world should be leading the world in fighting COVID-19, not leading in cases and being knocked down by the virus. 

But even before President Trump so badly botched our response to this pandemic, many Americans were already left behind by our health care system. We have the best doctors and hospitals in the world, but the best care remains inaccessible for too many, particularly the poor and people of color. In our system, we are paying two to three times more for results that are, at best, marginally better, and at worst, skewed towards those fortunate enough to be able to afford quality care. 

The cost of health care everywhere in the country is unacceptable.  Before our first annual visit to a doctor, people feel the bite of unnecessarily high system-wide health care costs.  Many of us are devastated at sky rocketing cost of everyday prescriptions, not to mention the astronomical cost of specialty drugs. If we get severely ill, or injured, requiring a visit to the hospital, too frequently we come home to exorbitant surprise bills despite going out of our way to stay in network. 

In America, the richest country in the world, no one should have to choose among paying rent, putting food on the table, and taking the prescriptions they need to stay healthy. Health care must be seen as a right, not a privilege. Every one of us should have quality and affordable care, from providers we know and trust, close to where we live, when and how we need it. 

So let me make clear where I stand and what I promise to continue to fight for in the 117th Congress: 

I will protect and build on the strengths and successes of the Affordable Care Act by 

  • Improving access to care by ensuring health plans cover essential services 

  • Always fighting for protections for pre-existing conditions 

  • Allowing parents to keep their kids on their plans to age 26

  • Providing for preventative care at no or low patient cost

  • And supporting a public option. A government-sponsored health insurance plan would compete in the marketplace with private insurance and promote competition to drive down overall costs and return the focus more appropriately on patients and their needs. 

I look forward to helping refine and craft the building blocks of this vision in my role as a member of the important Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.  

Why is this issue so important? This month, we watched the Republican Senate drop everything to rush through a Supreme Court confirmation, placing Justice Amy Coney Barrett in position for November 10th’s oral arguments to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Her stated position and their motives are obvious. After trying more than 70 times to defund, dismantle, and completely destroy the Affordable Care Act without replacement, they are hoping that she will do the job for them and kill the law from the bench. 

It is certainly ironic that Mitch McConnell’s Senate can swiftly act to once more try to undo the ACA through the courts, while refusing to consider passing vital Covid relief to help millions of Americans currently suffering a health care crisis. 

So now, with new cases soaring to an all-time high in our country and with millions of Americans having lingering effects from COVID-19, President Trump, Majority Leader McConnell and Justice Barrett are working to take away our citizens’ ability to get the life-sustaining health care they need. 

That’s why today, I have invited Nancy Frohman and David Boden to join us. They represent the faces of the nearly nine million Americans who have fought through and survived this horrible disease. 

You all may have read about their story in the news. Last spring their daughter Mariel came to our office looking for help. Mariel, a 21 year-old college student explained both Nancy and David were in the hospital with COVID 19 and she was worried they might die. She needed direction and I’m happy that we could help walk her through that unimaginably difficult time. 

Nancy and David represent the struggle that so many of our neighbors are facing. 

So I want it to be very clear about what’s at stake for our country, it’s not only nine million people with the disease or the 227,000 lost, but it’s how many more millions of families will Trump and McConnell allow to go through what this family has endured? 

Before I turn it over to Nancy and David to share their story and perspective first hand, I want them to know what I will continue to do to control this virus: 

One, we need a national mask mandate. The science is clear: this would slow the spread and save thousands of lives. And we need leaders, nationally and locally, who model this behavior. 

We also need to pass another relief package.  I was proud to have helped pass the CARES Act in March that initiated our first response to the virus, and I’m proud that three of my bills were used to craft the CARES Act. But the CARES Act wasn’t supposed to be the final word, and that’s why the House has since passed two versions of the Heroes Act, a bill that would expand our nation’s testing and contact tracing capacity, get assistance to overwhelmed hospitals, nursing homes, states, and cities, and invest in vaccine and PPE supply chains.

The bottom line is that America needs leadership that will work with science and industry to get a working vaccine and effective therapeutics to all of the American people in a robust manner. We cannot afford for the best medicines to be saved for those of us lucky enough to have money, or live in cities or the coasts…or be the President of the United States. Our supply chains and values must align such that everyone can feel safe in their communities once more. 

Because it’s only after we’ve all followed the three W’s -- wearing our masks, washing our hands, and watching our distance -- it’s only after we’ve all taken a science-approved vaccine, and it’s only after we’ve all rebuilt our communities and workplaces that we will be able to return to life as normal and focus on building our country back better. 

After we’ve done all of that, I hope that we will be able to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act, get prescription drug costs down, add a public option, and protect those with pre-existing conditions, including those who have suffered from Covid, as anything less would be tragic and unjust in the richest country in the world. 

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

For Immediate Release

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