Moms with young children packed Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s Boise office on Thursday, sharing their health care stories along with milk and cookies and urging Crapo to oppose the GOP health care bill now under consideration in the Senate. The “mom-in” was intended to lobby Crapo, a cancer survivor, against the plan, which has been struggling to gain critical mass among Senate Republicans.
Recent figures from a report by the Urban Institute and cited by Idaho Voices for Children predict that under the Senate plan, 107,000 Idahoans will lose health coverage over the next five years, 30,000 of them children.
On Thursday in Crapo’s office, discussion mostly focused on how the Senate bill, like the House bill before it, would harm the health care provisions enacted under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, throw millions off insurance, and eliminate Medicaid programs that help children, people with special needs and older people who’ve not yet reached Medicare age, the Idaho Statesman’s Bill Dentzer reported; you can read his full report here.
Melanie Folwell, a Boise resident who helped organize the event, told Lindsay Nothern, Crapo’s communications director, “I haven’t seen a compelling argument for our delegation on why this is a good bill.” She said later the group has focused its lobbying on Crapo given his own health struggles and his relative willingness to engage, as least indirectly, with constituents on the subject. Idaho’s other senator, Jim Risch, has “not been particularly amenable to discussing policy,” she said.
When they visit elected officials, “We don’t talk about Trump. We don’t talk about Russia,” Folwell said. “We talk about rubber-meets-the-road health care for Idahoans, and especially the most marginalized Idahoans, like chidren, pregnant women, elderly people with disabilities.”
“Sen. Crapo is interested in seeing if we can come to a solution,” Nothern told the group. “He’s been to the White House. He can work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. He’s on the (Senate) Finance Committee. But we have to wait and see what this final bill’s going to look like.”
One after another, speakers recounted their personal health care struggles and concerns. Jennifer Morgan, of Middleton, has a 6-year-old son, Jackson, who receives different therapies for autism spectrum disorder that total more than 10 hours a week. Without the assistance of the Katie Beckett program, funded by Medicaid, “his services will disappear,” she said.
Are the visits to officials’ office worthwhile? Angie Morgan, whose family has health coverage via the Obamacare-created state health exchange, told the Statesman she got satisfaction “in knowing that my senator is directly hearing my issues.”
“If he doesn’t vote no on this, I know he’s not listening to Idahoans,” she said.