Striking down the Affordable Care Act will put Libby at risk

| October 2, 2020 7:00 AM

To the editor:

Libby is facing a critical point in our health care access. Before the U.S. Supreme Court is a case that could affect the lives of our citizens like no other place in the United States. During the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Max Baucus, a senator for Montana at the time, was chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. He made sure that Libby would be protected because of the asbestos disaster left to us by the multi-national corporation, W.R. Grace. In the Affordable Care Act, he included a provision that would give access to Medicare to anyone affected by asbestos. That means that citizens could count on Medicare to provide health care as well as services like housecleaning and yard work if they had asbestosis, regardless of their age.

We all know many younger people who have been affected by this health crisis. They qualify and use these Medicare benefits.

If we lose the Affordable Care Act, which also is known as “Obamacare,” we lose the care for our asbestos related disease. If the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act, Libby loses any special provisions for asbestos care. And anyone who has asbestosis has a pre-existing condition.

Our current senator, Steve Daines, has voted repeatedly to not allow coverage for pre-existing conditions under proposed health care legislation.

This is a very tenuous time for Libby. Vote accordingly in this next election. Daines does not carry through with his promises for health care — and his votes show it.

I care for Libby and its citizens, but the decision to maintain our health care for asbestos victims and pre-existing conditions is up to you this November.

Paula Darko-Hensler