Congressman Speaks at Joint Meeting of New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital Alumni Association and Bay Ridge Medical Society
By John Alexander
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital Alumni and members of the Bay Ridge Medical Society gathered for a joint meeting at Chadwick’s Restaurant in Bay Ridge on Monday to hear U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan’s views on the health care debate.
The event was hosted by Dr. Mehrdad Hedayatnia, president of the New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital Alumni Association and the Bay Ridge Medical Society. Hedayatnia said that the hot topic of medical coverage and hospitals merging posed the question, “Where do we see the practice of medicine in Brooklyn in a few years and, as a physician who is dealing with patients, what we can do about it?” Also attending the event were radiologist Shahrokh Abiri of Bay Ridge Medical Imaging and Republican City Council candidate John Quaglione.
Hedayatnia introduced Donovan, who immediately explained where the health care issue stood in Washington regarding the Affordable Care Act and the American Health Care Act. He addressed the proposal that the Republicans put forth last Thursday night.
Donovan said that he thought our health care system is broken and needs a repair. Donovan admitted that he believed the Affordable Care Act harmed some people and helped others. “We have to figure out how to help the people who were harmed by it without harming the people that were helped by it,” he said.
“We heard former President Barack Obama say that 20 million people had insurance under the Affordable Care Act who didn’t have health insurance before that, but what we weren’t told is that 25 million people who had insurance before the Affordable Care Act no longer had it,” he continued.
“Five million people lost their insurance. Five million people were told that they couldn’t keep their physician and their health care provider dropped them, another five million people elected to take the penalty rather than pay for insurance because it was cheaper to pay to the penalty at the end of the year. And about 15 million people filed for and qualified for the exemption that didn’t have to have health care. So with the good intention of getting everybody insured, we lost about five million people in total.”
Donovan explained what he liked about the new American Health Care Plan and what concerned him about it. “First, we are going to keep the preexisting clause from the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “We’re going to keep allowing children and young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ health care. The plan makes it unlawful for insurance companies to discriminate against women by charging them higher premiums than they do men.”
He went to explain what troubled him about the American Health Care Act. “Right now an insurance company can charge a senior citizen up to three times the amount they charge a young person. The new proposal allows them to charge five times as much.”
Donovan said that he is trying to protect individuals who are on Medicaid. Sometimes, he explained, their health improves and they come off Medicaid, and then something happens and they may have to go back on it. He said that he found it disturbing that they cannot go back on the plan under the new system. He said his goal for the new system was to find a way to “help the people who hurt and not hurt the people it helps.
“The idea here is to figure out how to cover as many people as possible with the greatest access and greatest medical care, and at the same time be able to afford to do it.”