Congressman Joseph Crowley met with the residents and patients of Workmen’s Circle Multi-Care Center on Monday to talk about the current debate concerning the Affordable Care Act.
“Every human being in the United States needs medical care,” said Crowley (D-Bronx/Queens). “The rising cost of Medicare will bankrupt us. We need to address this growing problem.”
Crowley spoke to a room crowded with patients and administators in the facility on Grace Ave., advocating for the decreasing bi-partisanship he said he has witnessed in Washington.
“We can’t balance the books on the backs of the poor, elderly, and our children,”said Crowley, who is running for re-election.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law two years ago by President Obama to make health care more accessible to Americans.
An appellate court declared the mandate requiring health insurance unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of June.
Patients voiced their concerns about the reduction of Medicare benefits in the past few years.
“Last year I was put in a home like this,” temporary resident Norman Tajen told Crowley.
“I thought all the drugs were paid for through the home itself, but I received a $1,000 bill for drugs because my insurance company wouldn’t cover it.”
Later, Tajen, a former federal government computer programmer, said the Affordable Care Act must be passed.
“I want to be independent for as long as I can be,” said Tajen. “People shouldn’t be bankrupted for medical bills.”
“Were waiting for the Supreme Court ruling,” Crowley told the seniors. “Social Security is constitutional, Medicare is constitutional, it would be logical to think the Affordable Care Act is constitutional too.”
Assistant administrator for Workmen’s Circle, Cara Levine, told The News how health care costs affect the patients.
“A lot of these patients have had health crises in the past weeks or months, and many have medicare or insurance,” said Levine. “[But] benefits have been cut, and they’re scared.”
Levine expressed her gratitude for the Congressman’s visit, and hopes that more elected officials will visit the center.
“We have a lot of residents, and they should be heard,” she said.
Crowley ended his presentation by saying, “No more rhetoric. We need real solutions for this country.”
By Daniel O'Brien, New York Daily News