Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

Linkedin Pinterest

Long, Murray listen to concerns about health care

Roundtable in Vancouver part of Democrat’s 3rd Congressional District campaign

By , Columbian politics reporter
Published:
4 Photos
Carolyn Long, Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, center left, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, listen to attendees during a roundtable discussion on health care in the DiscoverOrg conference room on Tuesday. Long said she hopes to replicate Murray’s bipartisan work on health care if elected to the House.
Carolyn Long, Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, center left, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, listen to attendees during a roundtable discussion on health care in the DiscoverOrg conference room on Tuesday. Long said she hopes to replicate Murray’s bipartisan work on health care if elected to the House. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Amid the final days of election season, Democrat Carolyn Long was joined by Sen. Patty Murray to talk health care with providers and patients impacted by the Affordable Care Act.

Although the event was related to campaigning — and specifically Long’s bid for the 3rd Congressional District — the concerns that were shared echoed those shared daily by Clark County residents.

Mostly, the nine members of the roundtable were concerned they would lose access to health care, or the patients they serve would suffer if efforts to dismantle the ACA continue.

“My opponent has a bill to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but we have a law,” Long said. “It’s called the Affordable Care Act.”

Long and Murray, D-Wash., heard from organ transfer recipients, cancer survivors and doctors alike Tuesday during the roundtable held in a boardroom at DiscoverOrg.

Murray said she’s hopeful about the upcoming election and what it might mean for health care. She’s worked on bipartisan legislation to improve access and attempt to fix the ACA — work that Long said she hopes to replicate in the House.

“If it doesn’t go the way I’m praying and dreaming, how can we make the case we can’t allow them to once again repeal this?” Murray asked. Retelling stories heard Tuesday is one starting place.

Laura Ellsworth, for example, said she is thankful she’s been able to maintain health care. As a high school student, she was informed that she would need a kidney transplant at any point between two and 20 years. Her time came six years later, and access to health care has never been more important. That transplant at age 23 won’t be her last.

“I recognize not everyone has that opportunity (to get and keep insurance),” Ellsworth said. “I know the burden of having a pre-existing condition, and I know how it felt in 2010 when that law went into effect and that cloud was lifted.”

She could no longer be refused coverage.

Jennifer Browning has also had a kidney transplant. She recalled crying tears of joy when the ACA was approved. And tears once more when President Donald Trump was elected, worried that he would fulfill his campaign promise to immediately repeal the ACA.

“I think that there’s this notion that people like us are living off the system, are a liability, but we’re anything but,” Browning said. “You take away our insurance, and sure enough we’ll be a problem.”

David Smith, an oncologist working in Vancouver, said he often sees patients without insurance or with inferior coverage who suffer in terms of treatment simply because they can’t afford it.

“I believe health care is a basic right,” Smith said, adding that he thought most people would agree. “But I think most of America doesn’t believe it’s a shared burden.”

Kala Sagar experienced that fight firsthand as he advocated for his mother to receive care. Sagar’s mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and struggled to get insurance as a permanent resident of the U.S. He also fought to make sure she could receive treatment immediately despite the enormous cost they would later have to deal with.

“We figured it out,” he said.

Long said not everyone has the tenacity Ellsworth, Browning and Sagar have to fight for care, or the same access to information.

“That’s why this is so important,” she said.

Murray said that despite numerous conversations about health care in the 27 years she’s been a senator, she continues to learn something new.

“This is no exception. We have to keep working in the right direction,” Murray said. “I don’t give up. Ever.”

Columbian politics reporter

Support local journalism

Your tax-deductible donation to The Columbian’s Community Funded Journalism program will contribute to better local reporting on key issues, including homelessness, housing, transportation and the environment. Reporters will focus on narrative, investigative and data-driven storytelling.

Local journalism needs your help. It’s an essential part of a healthy community and a healthy democracy.

Community Funded Journalism logo
Loading...