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Lawrence General Hospital Hosts Congressional Forum on Health Care and the Affordable Care Act

LAWRENCE, MA – Lawrence General Hospital President and CEO Dianne J. Anderson, RN, today hosted a Congressional forum to discuss the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it has benefited patients in Lawrence and the surrounding communities. Among the featured guests was House Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose leadership enabled passage of the country’s landmark health care law.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Dr. Jen Childs-Roshak, President of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and Democratic Congressional nominee Lori Trahan were also in attendance and participated in the discussion. Lawrence General’s Robin Hynds, RN, Chief Clinical Integration Officer and Vice President of Care Continuum and Network Development, and Emelissa Sacchetti, PharmD, Transition of Care Pharmacist, also joined the panel. 

Dianne Anderson opened the forum by stressing the many positive implications of the Affordable Care Act for the hospital, with an emphasis on affordability for patients served by Lawrence General Hospital. “Gaining access to coverage, getting preventive care and covering pre-existing conditions are critical, key components of the Affordable Care Act,” said Anderson. “No one should be forced to choose between paying for insurance and putting food on the table. The ACA has enabled our patients to receive affordable, quality health care, thanks in large part to the work of Leader Pelosi.”

“Never has there been a more important time to preserve Americans’ access to affordable health care,” said Leader Pelosi. “As Democrats, we will keep working to strengthen the health law, lower families’ health care and prescription drug costs, and ensure that we advance better outcomes for the people.”

Lori Trahan led the panel conversation with other attendees by first acknowledging the work of Mayor Rivera, particularly in the aftermath of the recent natural gas explosions in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover – and emphasizing the critical role of Lawrence General Hospital staff in tending to the needs of the community. 

“Lawrence is an immigrant city; therefore, it is vital that we have resources and laws in place that enable every single resident to have access to the American dream—and that includes access to health care,” said Mayor Rivera. “The Affordable Care Act allows members of our community to see the best doctors in world class hospitals such as Lawrence General, without having to worry about excessive copays, deductibles, and astronomical bills.”

Congresswoman Tsongas was a vocal participant in the ACA debate in 2010 and ultimately voted for its passage, with a focus on the unique health issues faced by women, their need for access to preventive screening, and the longstanding discrimination women faced paying higher premiums than men for the same coverage.

“I know firsthand how being able to access affordable health care isn’t a political issue, but a deeply personal one for every family,” Congresswoman Tsongas said. “Given my own family’s experience and knowing how critical access to affordable health coverage is, I was proud to play a role in passing life-saving health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act. But passing the law was only the first step. Our work is not over, which is why we need Lori Trahan as our next member of Congress to join the fight to defend the Affordable Care Act's protections for millions of Americans."

Congresswoman Clark, elected in 2013 to serve the 5th Congressional district that includes many neighboring communities south of Lawrence, has also been a strong supporter of reliable, affordable health care.

“The Affordable Care Act made vital health care services like maternal health, substance use disorder treatment, and mental health care possible for millions of Americans. Our priority now must be building off these achievements by making health care more affordable, like lowering prescription drug costs, and protecting the gains we have made,” said Congresswoman Clark. “I refuse to go back to the days when simply being a woman was considered a preexisting condition, or health insurance companies could cancel your coverage when you got sick. I thank Lori Trahan for her work and leadership to make quality, affordable health care possible in every community.”

Trahan talked about the many conversations she has had with residents and voters over the last year while on the campaign trail, and what she will focus on in Washington. 

“I’m hearing it over and over again—families in this district are worried about how they are going to pay for health care.” Trahan said. “We need more leaders in Washington who will fight to preserve and strengthen the ACA, make coverage more affordable, and ensure access to care for those with preexisting conditions.” 

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