On Aug. 14, Senator Heidi Heitkamp had an opinion piece published in the The Forum about Kathryn and Valerie, a mother and daughter from Mandan. Valerie was born dangerously premature but is doing well thanks to the care she has received. However, Valerie could require medical care throughout her life as a result of her premature birth, and her mother is worried about the cost of her medical bills, which could drastically increase if the Trump Administration succeeds in allowing health insurance companies to deny coverage for patients with preexisting conditions.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage to patients with preexisting conditions, allowing those with heart disease, diabetes, or cancer to purchase insurance and mitigate the cost of their care for these conditions. This protection is a critical part of our current healthcare system - more than 130 million Americans under the age of 65 have a preexisting condition, including over 300,000 in North Dakota alone - nearly 40 percent of the population of our state.
Sen. Heitkamp is right to seek moderate, bipartisan improvements to our current healthcare system. All North Dakotans should support increased access to affordable, quality health care, and the best way to achieve that goal is through pragmatic solutions to the challenges our current healthcare system faces, not through implementing a single-payer system, or repealing the ACA.