AURORA | An emergency surgery to remove a kidney stone has solidified Aurora City Council member Allison Hiltz’s support of Jason Crow, a Democrat, to represent Aurora in Congress.
“I am battling a kidney stone that is causing a blockage and will be going in for emergency surgery tomorrow, and after going through a round of pity party… a wise friend informed that maybe I should be focusing on the positive,” the councilwoman said in a video praising Crow’s stances on healthcare posted to YouTube Thursday.
That positive side is her employer-based healthcare.
“…which means when I go in for surgery tomorrow, I will be covered by FMLA. I cannot lose my job, and I will be paying a co-pay that is affordable. I don’t have to choose between my mortgage and getting treated for this. (Without) I could have longterm consequences.”
Hiltz, who was an early supporter of Crow’s, said in the three-minute video she called the hospital where she will have the operation and was told without insurance the base price of the procedure is $13,531.38.
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that most people have $13,500 to pay out in order to get treated for something that is the size of a grain of rice,” she said. “Jason understands that the average American cannot afford to be sidelined by something like this,” she said.
Hiltz said with her insurance, her out of pocket maximum payment per year is $2,000. She anticipates with the surgery, medication and emergency room visits she’ll pay about $230.
Crow, who supports the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, has said throughout his campaign he’ll work to preserve the program that expanded coverage across the country and toward a universal health care system.
“Allison is a tireless fighter for working families in Aurora, and I’m proud to call her a friend,” Crow said in a statement to the Sentinel about Hiltz’s video. “Her message hits the nail on the head: the stakes in this election couldn’t be any higher. My opponent and President Trump have put Coloradans’ healthcare at risk, and it’ll take a new generation of leaders in Congress to expand access to quality and affordable coverage.”
Crow, who is up against Republican incumbent Mike Coffman for the 6th Congressional District seat, has differed in aspects of the ACA with Coffman.
While Coffman has been critical of the ACA and backed efforts to first repeal and then diminish the law, Coffman has repeatedly said he supports protecting pre-existing conditions. It’s a reason why he said he didn’t vote to repeal the law earlier this year. In September, he and 27 other lawmakers introduced a resolution “expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions should be retained in law.”
Health care issues have been a contentious campaign issue for months.
During a debate on 9News earlier this month, Coffman said he believes Medicaid expansion, which happened under Obamacare, should be funded equally between the state and federal government, like other Medicaid programs. Currently the expansion is funded 90 percent by the federal government and 10 percent by the state.
“He does not believe we should do that with the original Medicaid populations – the disabled, children, those under the federal poverty level, etc.,” Tyler Sandberg, a spokesman for the Coffman campaign, said in an email to the Sentinel. “Block granting the Medicaid expansion dollars would allow states to innovate and find ways to utilize the funds more efficiently. For example, by leveraging networks of lower cost health clinics like the Metro Community Provider Network, which has a large presence in CD6.”
Changing the funding model for Medicaid expansion in Colorado would cost the state about $316 million, according to CU Denver economics professor Andrew Friedson.
During the debate, Coffman said he doesn’t believe anybody should be kicked off Medicaid coverage — although it’s unclear how the state would make up $300 million for expanded Medicaid coverage.
“I’m not saying anybody should get off, but that the formulas should change, that Medicaid expansion should be treated like all other traditional medicaid programs,” he said.