EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — “Maternity care. That’s important not only for women, it’s important for everybody, because I don’t know of any men who were not born of a woman,” MN-05 Rep. Keith Ellison told a crowd of approximately 200 people in Eden Prairie, Monday night.
The Deputy Chair for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hosted a health care town hall at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Eden Prairie, in MN-03 Rep. Erik Paulsen’s district.
“Congressional Republicans are holding to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” Ellison said in his opening remarks. “This is not a partisan statement, it is a statement of fact.”
The town hall, put together by local activist group Indivisible, they claim Paulsen has refused to participate in local town halls in the district.
“What we had before, in my view, is not as good as we have now,” Ellison said of the Affordable Care Act. “That doesn’t mean that we can’t get even better.“
However, Ellison did concede that there were issues with the current health care law, but claimed things were far worse before the ACA, stating a majority of bankruptcies filed were due to medical bills.
Ellison who mistakenly called the Republican health care plan the affordable care act, quipped, “Wait. It’s not affordable, that’s an understatement.”
Minnesota has been among the hardest hit states by the rising costs of health care, largely in part to policies implemented by the ACA and MNSure.
In 2016, a report from Minnesota’s Department of Commerce announced that health care premium plans would increase between 50 and 67 percent in 2017.
Members of the crowd audibly gasped as Annette, a single mother, told Ellison of her of her rising health care costs. “One bottle of insulin is $400 a month and another bottle is $230 a month with insurance,” she said. “Without insurance, it would be $700 or $800 a month and I go through two bottles a month.” She told Ellison that her and her 15-year-old son would be homeless if they were on their own, as disability and her part-time job are not enough.
While Ellison said Democrats were willing to reform the ACA, Republicans were only interested in removing it.
“The American Health Care Act is not actually a health care act, but a massive tax cut for the wealthiest amongst us,” Ellison said, for which he received a resounding applause.
Ellison encouraged the crowd to run for office and make a difference and told them he would be willing to host another town hall in the district.