October 20, 2020 Press Releases

ICYMI: Messner’s Opposition to Pre-existing Conditions Protections in the Spotlight in Berlin

October 20, 2020
Contact: Ally Livingston, alivingston@jeanneshaheen.org

ICYMI – Health care professionals and Granite Staters with pre-existing conditions in Berlin condemned Republican U.S. Senate candidate Corky Messner for his comments denying pre-existing conditions exist in the first two Senate debates. Messner, who supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has also repeatedly dismissed the threat of eliminating protections for more than 572,000 Granite Staters with pre-existing conditions as a “fear tactic” and “fear mongering.”

In response to Messner’s dishonest and disrespectful comments, Rep. Susan Ford, Dr. Sherrill Tracy, Charlie Cotton whose wife has multiple sclerosis, and Kathleen Kelley who has a heart condition and a daughter with a pre-existing condition shared their health care stories and why they are urging Granite Staters to vote for Senator Jeanne Shaheen to protect access to health care.

Berlin Daily Sun: Rally cites importance of Affordable Care Act 

By Barbara Tetreault

BERLIN — Emphasizing U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s support for the Affordable Care Act, a small group of local health-care professionals joined by residents with pre-existing conditions held a rally at Community Field Monday afternoon.

State Senate candidate Rep. Susan Ford emphasized the importance of the act and said she could not believe it is a topic of discussion, given that the United States is in the middle of a pandemic. She said that a lot of people in Coos County will be hurt if the measure is thrown out.

Ford said the ACA protects people with pre-existing conditions, including asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and even pregnancy.

The Trump administration is seeking to overturn the ACA, and its case is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court the week after the November election.

A total of 20 million Americans get their health insurance coverage though the act. It also bans insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions and it is estimated that over 500,000 New Hampshire residents have pre-existing conditions that could make it difficult for them to obtain insurance without the protection offered by the act.

Dr. Sherrill Tracy, a retired Gorham family practitioner, said she remembers what it was like before ACA was put in place. She said many people would not seek treatment until they ended up in the emergency room because they could not afford health insurance. Others did not want their record to reflect they had a chronic condition because it would make it hard to get insurance.

Tracy said it is hard to overstate how important the ACA has been.

Charlie Cotton of Lancaster said he has seen the benefits of the Affordable Care Act on both a personal and professional basis. His wife has multiple sclerosis and just one of her medicines is over $800 a month. He also oversaw Northern Human Services and the act protected his clients from discrimination by insurance companies.

Kathleen Kelley of Randolph described the shock of discovering there was a cap on her family’s insurance coverage in the middle of treatment and hospitalization for her premature twins back in the 1990s.

Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier said he fears if the ACA is overturned, people with medical conditions and no coverage, will end up indigent and turn to the cities and towns for financial assistance. He said the cost of the local welfare office falls upon the property taxpayer, who is already struggling with high tax rates. He said it is important that Shaheen be re-elected.

Shaheen’s Republican opponent, Corky Messner, has charged the senator is exaggerating the number with pre-existing conditions. Messner supports eliminating the ACA, arguing the market and transparency can bring costs down.