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Arthur Schaper: Fattman: Obamacare-Less in MA

Friday, March 28, 2014

 

State Rep. Ryan Fattman seen pulling papers to run for State Senate last month.

Following from my investigations on the impact of Obamacare in Rhode Island, I investigated the impact of the health care law in Massachusetts.

I reached out to State Rep. Ryan Fattman (R-18th Worcester), who is also running for state senator in the Worcester-Norfolk district, currently held by State Senator Richard Moore. Before reporting Obamacare horror stories, I asked for some background information, like why Fattman is a Republican in deep blue Massachusetts:

The R in front of my name stands for “Reform”. I believe in the freedom of opportunity. Fiscal responsibility, living within your means. This was taught to me at a young age. My mom’s a Democrat, my Dad's a Republican. My mom had good ideas, and my Dad knew how to pay for them. Paying for them, that was the most important thing for me.

When asked about why he ran for office, Fattman shared about his frustration in seeing how the state legislature was balancing its budget on the local governments, cutting services while raising taxes.

Obamacare's impact in MA

Now onto the major issue:

How is Obamacare affecting the Commonwealth?

I think it’s affected Massachusetts worse than any other state. We had our own system. And there were definitely flaws, but it worked – it got 98% of the people covered. But, the legislature and people like my opponent Dick Moore, pursued the President’s agenda.

Following the Obamacare rollout, 250,000 people lost their health insurance. We went from having a 98%, now 250,000 lost their health insurance. Some of the horror stories included frequent attempts to sign up, or those who do sign and even pay a premium never get their health insurance, and the health connector carries no record, even though the system cashed the payment.

Fattman also blasted the rising costs of the health connector website, which went from $3 million to $69 million. Now the Commonwealth has spent $200 million on the program.

As a guy who used to work in Sutton, I know that money would help run the town for several years. It didn’t have to be this way.

Fattman emphasized the role that Democratic State Senator Dick Moore, Chairman of the Health Care Finance Committee, played in getting Obamacare passed.

When I asked Fattman to explain how Obamacare is affecting youth, he shared another story:

Premiums are going up. We have a constituent who had a major problem. She was 28 years old and eight and a half months pregnant, and all of a sudden she loses her health insurance. She had her baby without health insurance. That added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her old insurance was gone at this point.

In another story, Fattman related that another resident took forty-one hours waiting to get insurance.

Forty-one hours when you’re not making money – that’s a whole work week .

Fattman invited me to contact another constituent, Lori Burrows, who shared with me her horror story:

I was working two jobs, but I lost the job with the health insurance. I used the health connector website in November and December. I got a call. They tell me that I have to over-night a check to get coverage on January. They called me on an 800 number. So I ended up doing it on line and make a payment. I ended up getting coverage at full price. I have called the health connector twice a week, and I am on hold for forty-five minutes. I can’t afford the insurance that I have. With a $10,000 deductible, my prescriptions hit fifty dollar each. I have to pay out of pocket.

Burrows added that Rep. Fattman and his office were trying to help her, while State Senator Dick Moore did not get back to her.

Obamacare has also discouraged business from hiring. Fattman also shared his attempt to pass bipartisan legislation which would review the consequences of the medical device tax and Obamacare in general in the Commonwealth. The measured failed:

They [the Democratic majorities] didn’t even care to get the facts. They just rammed this thing into Massachusetts when no one was paying attention.

Fattman's chance of winning

About his chances for winning a senate seat from a sitting incumbent, Fattman repeated the statement he often gets:

As a Republican in Massachusetts, you must understand what it’s like to be an underdog.

Then Fattman segues:

The true underdogs don’t come from a political party, The true underdogs are our people those trying to make a life here. They’re tired of being taxes, pushed aside. Over the course of my lives, there have been several ballot initiatives. And the legislature throws them aside as if they don’t matter.

Because of Obamacare’s impact on the Commonwealth, Fattman predicts not only an upset victory for himself over Senator Moore, but for the Massachusetts GOP to sweep Beacon Hill.

Dick Moore was the key vote in passing Obamacare. He puts himself out as a health care expert, takes a lot of credit for what happened locally and nationally. He helped bring the President’s Affordable Care Act.

Running on Obamacare, against one of the law’s chief supporters, Fattman’s chances are looking for good for 2014.

 

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurCSchaper, reach him at [email protected], and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.

 

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