Las Vegas Sun

April 23, 2019

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Guest column:

Jacky Rosen: We must fight to protect our health care system

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Sen. Jacky Rosen

No issue is more personal or more important than protecting our health care. It’s one of the most pressing concerns I hear about when I meet with Nevadans — no matter their age, race or income.

I’ve met with Nevadans from across the state who are afraid of losing their health coverage if insurance companies are once again allowed to deny care based on a pre-existing condition.

In Nevada alone, an estimated 1.2 million people live with a pre-existing condition. That is why last year, I fought back after the Trump administration announced that it would no longer defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act. These key provisions prevent insurance companies from charging more to cover pre-existing conditions or from denying coverage altogether.

Last Congress, I introduced a resolution that would authorize the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives to intervene in a pending federal lawsuit to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. I was proud to see my colleagues in the House stand up for families and pass legislation similar to my resolution this month. Soon after the House vote, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and I introduced our own legislation directing the Senate to intervene in the same federal court case, and we were thrilled to have the support of all 47 Democratic senators.

I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to fight efforts to roll back access to affordable health care for Nevadans. This issue is critical for too many of Nevada’s hardworking families, and more must be done to improve access to quality, affordable care. We must advocate for policies that stabilize our health care markets, lower premiums and drug costs, protect Medicare and address Nevada’s physician residency shortage. These are all issues I worked on in the House and will continue to champion in the Senate.

Cancer survivors like Laura Packard and Joe Merlino, who bravely share their stories and struggles each day, shouldn’t have to be consumed by the thought of an insurance company determining their fate.

Children I’ve become acquainted with — like Dean, from Reno, who was born with a heart defect — shouldn’t have to be labeled with having a pre-existing condition their entire lives. I’ve looked into the eyes of my constituents and listened to the anxieties of families like Dean’s who know very well what’s at stake if the Trump administration moves to dismantle our health care system. I cannot in good conscience sit on the sidelines while this administration refuses to defend life-saving protections for the ones we love.

Let’s not forget, we are all one diagnosis away from having a pre-existing condition.

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., was elected to the Senate in November after serving one term in the U.S. House representing Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District.