Manchin Hosts Roundtable Discussion on Pre-Existing Conditions with Clergy in Bridgeport
New lawsuit threatens protections for those with pre-existing conditions
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) hosted a roundtable discussion with leaders from West Virginia’s clergy in Bridgeport today to discuss the lawsuit threatening West Virginians’ pre-existing conditions protections. Right now, 20 U.S. Attorneys General, including the Attorney General of West Virginia, are suing to allow insurance companies to once again deny coverage to West Virginians with pre-existing conditions.
“Today, I had a great conversation with clergy members in Bridgeport about our religious values and how that translates into protecting healthcare coverage for West Virginians. We talked about how, right now 20 U.S. Attorneys General, including the Attorney General of West Virginia, are suing to allow insurance companies to once again deny coverage to West Virginians with pre-existing conditions. This impacts every family in West Virginia. More than 800,000 West Virginians have a pre-existing condition, including 90,600 children, including West Virginians with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma or women who have been pregnant. We cannot go back to a time when insurance companies played God and decided who was insured and who was not. For a lot of West Virginians with pre-existing conditions, insurance coverage is the difference between life and death, and I will do everything I can to protect them,” Senator Manchin said.
Darick Biondi, United Methodist Pastor at Mt. Juliet United Methodist Church in Belle said “Pregnancy is classified as a pre-existing condition. What does that say about our value of life? As Christians we value life and we should be lifting up and supporting new parents as they welcome new life into this world. We also have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the nation. I know that many of my church members struggle with diabetes and they make the right choices. This is something they struggle with every day and if this is something that could get them kicked off their insurance, it would affect them personally and do harm to them."
Jeff Allen, Executive Director of the West Virginia Council of Churches said “Healthcare is something we are greatly concerned about in the Council of Churches. The Council of Churches is greatly concerned about the people who would be impacted by the loss of pre-existing conditions protections. This is something that should be a concern to every West Virginian.”
Matthew Johnson, United Methodist Pastor at Suncrest United Methodist Church in Morgantown said “I appreciated the opportunity to hear from the Senator and to participate in these conversations because the idea of continuing to cover people with pre-existing conditions is crucially important to the welfare and movement of our country. I appreciated the conversation around the table that promoted different ideas and the idea that compassion is a crucial part of what needs to take place as we think about policy. Compassion needs to play a role in how policy is interpreted.”
Earlier this month, Senator Manchin asked West Virginians to share their story about the importance of protecting access for those with pre-existing conditions to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Senator Manchin will read these stories on the Senate Floor.
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