Concerned residents speak out at U.S. Senator Blumenthal’s fourth ACA hearing in West Hartford

WEST HARTFORD – As U.S. lawmakers are on holiday break, they are in their districts and hearing from their constituents.

Senator Richard Blumental held his fourth emergency field hearing to address healthcare at the West Hartford Town Hall auditorium.

There was a very diverse turnout – there were doctors, cancer patients and political activists. The one thing they all had in common was believing their lives could change drastically for the worst without healthcare.

“I was told I didn’t have  cancer and four or five months later, I’m fully metastasized stage four,” said Greta Stifel of Kensington.

Stifel, 58, she said she is not afraid to say she is on several types of medications as she was diagnosed with a rare disease that is not treatable.

She was one of many in the crowded room to share their personal stories.

Senator Blumenthal stressed he would take a stand on behalf of everyone and said healthcare should not be stripped from millions of Americans.

He has also been sharing stories from his field hearings in Washington on the Senate floor.

Dr. Rob Dodley has been a pediatrician for 21 years and he said every day, children come to his office with all types of illnesses which has become a frequent reminder of why healthcare is so important for children.

“When kids don’t have access to insurance and when their families don’t have access to insurance, healthcare gets put off,” said Dr. Rob Dodley, a pediatrician in New Britain.

Being a parent himself, he said he knows what it is like to have a child who is not feeling well and then comes the concerns surrounding medical bills.

“Am I going to be able to get the medications that I need? What’s it going to cost?” added Dr. Dodley.

Maureen Goulet is a member of the Hartford chapter of Action Together Connecticut, a group that was created after the election.

Goulete said she also has family members with diagnosed illnesses and the last thing she wants to see is her loved ones struggle to stay healthy.

“These are people who are survivors and they’re going to be in trouble if they get kicked off of insurance,” said Goulet.

While a planned vote in the Senate on the GOP bill was delayed this week, Republican leaders are continuing to negotiate behind closed doors.