Two Arkansans talk of health law’s ills

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NEWS - FRANK E. LOCK­WOOD

As it at­tempts to re­peal and re­place the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act, the White House is high­light­ing the sto­ries of Amer­i­cans it says have been hurt by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s health care law.

On Fri­day, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion re­leased tes­ti­mo­ni­als from more than two dozen peo­ple — in­clud­ing two Arkansans — who say the cur­rent health care sys­tem is flawed and needs to be fixed.

One is Gina Martin, founder and vice pres­i­dent of Lit­tle Rock Tours and a long­time critic of the Af­ford­able Care Act.

The other is Ben­ton res­i­dent Tonya Hor­ton, the 42-year-old owner of Hor­ton’s Or­thotics and Pros­thet­ics.

Hor­ton was in­vited to a June 14 lis­ten­ing ses­sion at the White House that fea­tured Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Tom Price and Seema Verma, the new ad­min­is­tra­tor of the Cen­ters for Medi­care and Med­i­caid Ser­vices.

Un­til the White House sum­moned her, she’d never been to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

“I’m not re­ally sure how they got my name but they just called and asked me if I’d be in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing,” Hor­ton said in a tele­phone in­ter­view Fri­day. “It was ex­cit­ing to be able to go up and speak on be­half of my­self and on be­half of my pa­tients, but it was also, of course, very nerve-wrack­ing.”

Many of her cus­tomers have been hurt by re­cent changes in the health care sys­tem, she said.

Be­cause of the steep de­ductibles, some of them have to pay thou­sands of dol­lars be­fore their in­surance kicks in, she said. Co-pays also have jumped, she said.

As a re­sult, “I’ve seen more pa­tients that can’t af­ford our ser­vices. They go with­out,” she said.

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