Race for governor: Democrat Gronik vows to accept ACA money Walker rejected

The following is an excerpt from an article published by the Leader-Telegram on August 4, 2017:

Congress may be tying itself in knots trying to come up with a new health care reform plan, but the solution isn’t that complicated to at least one Democrat who wants to challenge Gov. Scott Walker in the 2018 election.

Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, who launched his gubernatorial candidacy last month, said Wednesday in Eau Claire that the best remedy for health care is simply to fix some of the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act, not to tear it up and start over.

“In the real world, you don’t take a bulldozer to a problem when a shovel will do,” Gronik told the Leader-Telegram.

The problem, he said, is that health care reform has become a highly partisan issue in which people often take a back seat to politics. Even though Republicans have control of the House, the Senate and the White House, Congress hasn’t yet been able to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment. Some plans the Senate has considered would have eliminated health insurance for at least 20 million Americans, according to analysts.

“I don’t hear anybody saying the Affordable Care Act can’t be improved,” Gronik said. “So instead of repealing it, why not improve upon a base that made it possible for those 20 million Americans to have health care.”

The debate is personal for Gronik, who insures his family through the Obamacare exchanges.

Gronik, 60, has Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition that he has listed as a pre-existing condition on his insurance for years. Thus, he faces an uncertain future should Congress pass a new health care law that no longer includes the ACA’s prohibition against insurance companies denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

If elected, Gronik pledged to fight to preserve the plans offered through the ACA and to accept additional federal money Walker rejected to expand Medicaid, the nation’s health care program for low-income people and for custodial care, such as nursing homes.

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