Senator Duckworth Warns Of Healthcare Policy Traps | WGLT

Senator Duckworth Warns Of Healthcare Policy Traps

Apr 23, 2017

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) took questions from the public for 90 minutes at Illinois Wesleyan University Sunday, April 23.
Credit Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth said progressives should not get their hopes up about a single payer healthcare insurance system.

Speaking to several hundred people during a Town Hall Meeting at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, the Illinois Democrat said she is taking heat from both sides of the healthcare debate for saying the best that they can probably hope for in the near future is a public option in the insurance exchanges.

"Ideally you would like to get somewhere else, but maybe the way to get there is somewhere in the middle as well," said Duckworth.

Duckworth also told the friendly audience that President Trump has now allowed governors to reject federal pass-through dollars for family planning clinics.

And she said the public should be aware that the proposal to make birth control over the counter instead of prescription is a red herring. Duckworth says that means insurance will no longer have to pay for birth control.

"So, you have now shifted the cost of birth control from insurance onto the individual. You have just made it more expensive to be a woman. You have created a woman tax," said Duckworth.

Duckworth also criticized GOP proposals for insurance requirements for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. She said the buzz word "access" in some of those proposals means people in those categories would be placed in high risk pools and charged so much for insurance they could not afford it.

Republicans have said healthcare is not a right, but the nation should assure a functional marketplace and open access to coverage.

Duckworth called for the overturning of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, which established that corporations should be treated like individuals in allowing political donations. And she espoused third party redistricting commissions instead of the party controlled processes that have resulted in overwhelming numbers of safe seat districts across the country.

She said Illinois is gerrymandered for Democrats, but in the rest of the U.S. Republicans have gained the advantage from unfairly drawing boundaries to overstuff or exclude voters of one party or another from a district.

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