October 14, 2020 Press Releases

Corky Messner Stages Protest Against Granite Staters with Pre-Existing Conditions

October 14, 2020
Contact: Ally Livingston, alivingston@jeanneshaheen.org

Manchester, N.H. –Today, “Colorado Corky” Messner tried to shout down and yell over the voices of Granite Staters with epilepsy, cancer, and tuberous sclerosis who were sharing their health care stories and declaring that “Pre-Existing Conditions Exist.” Last week, during the first New Hampshire Senate debate, Messner said that pre-existing conditions are mere “health conditions” and dismissed voters’ concerns about his efforts to repeal the ACA as “fear-mongering.” Rather than apologize today, he and his supporters tried to drown out the stories of Dr. Chelsey Lewis, whose daughter has tuberous sclerosis, Jacqui Silvani, whose son is a cancer survivor, Amy Franklin, who has epilepsy, and State Representative Pat Long while they called out Messner for threatening the health care of their families and 572,000 Granite Staters with pre-existing conditions.

“Corky Messner staged a protest against parents whose children have cancer and other serious illnesses today, because he can’t justify his support for repealing the Affordable Care Act and kicking them off their health care coverage,” said Shaheen spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank. “Last week Messner denied that Granite Staters have pre-existing conditions at all, and today he shouted down a group of people whose families have cancer and epilepsy, as well as the 572,000 people in New Hampshire with pre-existing conditions. Messner’s willingness to attack families facing serious health care issues is further proof he wouldn’t hesitate to kick them off their care.”

Below are the comments of the brave health care advocates who came out today, and were shouted down by Corky Messner and his campaign.

“In 2015, my youngest son, Joe, was diagnosed with cancer—stage 4 neuroblastoma—right before his third birthday. During his treatment, he developed a life-threatening condition that can result in chronic kidney damage. He had maxed out on what would be our insurance’s lifetime limit,” said Jacqui Silvani from Newfields. “The Affordable Care Act is a lifeline for Joe—it ensures that he can’t be denied coverage from insurance companies because of his pediatric cancer and it ensures that he can stay on our insurance until he is 26-years-old. Without the pre-existing conditions protections in the ACA my son would likely be deemed uninsurable. And now Republicans like Corky Messner are saying that’s not true, all to justify their support for repealing the ACA and its protections for people like my son.”

“Pre-existing conditions are real and the repeal of the ACA would have dire consequences for millions. Like my daughter, who was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis two days after being born,” said Chelsey Lewis from Manchester. “Essentially, she had benign tumors in every organ in her body, including her brain and her heart. Then, after 48 hours of life, her seizures started. My daughter is 5  now and doing well, she’s a fighter. But she—and millions of other people with pre-existing conditions like her—should not have to fight for their access to health care. Yet, that’s what Corky Messner wants. While he ignores the reality of people like my daughter, Jeanne Shaheen fights for our health.”

“The first time I was able to get health insurance on my own was only 6 years ago, after the ACA was passed. But that could all be taken away, if Republicans like Corky Messner repeal the ACA,” said Amy Franklin, a small business owner from Plainfield. “I could lose my insurance and once again be discriminated against by health insurers because of my epilepsy diagnosis – even if my seizures are totally under control. I was shocked when I heard Corky Messner say that people with health conditions who receive medical care don’t have pre-existing conditions. He has no idea about the challenges real Granite Staters are facing. His only goal is to stand with Trump and repeal the ACA.”

“It is offensive and irresponsible for Corky Messner to deny the existence of pre-existing conditions,” said State Representative Pat Long from Manchester. “That is a real fear that thousands of families in New Hampshire are feeling, and to dismiss their concerns as a candidate for US Senate is a disgrace. Our Senator, Jeanne Shaheen knows that the cost of health care is a challenge that all Granite Staters face. She has spent her entire career working to lower health care costs and has led the fight to save the ACA and the protections it provides for pre-existing conditions when the Trump administration and Republicans have spent the past four years trying to dismantle it.”

Messner has previously called pre-existing conditions a “fear tactic.” He supports repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), threatening health care for over half a million people in New Hampshire with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes and asthma and siding with insurance companies to let them deny care to those people. ACA repeal would also kick 105,000 Granite Staters off their care.

For photos or recordings of the event, email press@jeanneshaheen.org.