Waukesha, WI — Khary Penebaker, Democratic candidate for Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District, issued the following statement:
“As a successful businessman, I have spent the last twenty years in the commercial roofing industry working to hire and train the best workers and give the highest quality efforts to my customers. If there is a problem, we fix it by working together. In a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opinion-editorial, the current incumbent Congressman for Wisconsin’s 5th District offered extensive criticism of the Affordable Care Act, but not one single solution to the issues he raised. I believe that a discussion of healthcare deserves more than partisan talking points: voters wants serious public policy discussions.
“I have seen firsthand the advantages of healthcare reform, in that my daughter, who will be leaving for college soon, will share our insurance coverage until age 26, as will her brother and sister. The ACA has also eliminated the pre-existing conditions restriction, so families with cancer or other chronic illnesses can always get lifesaving insurance. Healthcare policies have marketplace standards for better coverage.
“Also, a major failure to apply common sense to healthcare has been addressed: the omission of our citizens who most need it from the insurance market. Respected economist Jared Bernstein reported in the Washington Post that both income categories – people above and people below $50,000/year – have seen significant reductions in the uninsured rate because of the Affordable Care Act. The most dramatic was with income below $50,000, with their uninsured rate falling from about 20 percent to about 15 percent in a single year. In Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District, the median income is $58,594. Small business owners, farmers, and other working people have been able to finally get affordable health insurance.
“What about the impact on small businesses? Instead of partisan opinions, let’s look at independent analysis to find out the answers. In December 2015, the Kaufman Foundation, who tracks entrepreneurs and small business activity in the United States, released its annual Main Street Entrepreneurship Index. It found that the density of small businesses in the country has risen to an all-time high with 1,006.6 companies per 100,000 people – or 3.16 million businesses, which is higher than pre-recession levels. The Affordable Care Act has allowed flexibly for entrepreneurs to pursue life-changing opportunities.
“The next Congress needs to work with the next President to continue reforming healthcare. For example, copays have increased dramatically in the last five years. As a recent Bloomberg February 16, 2015 editorial pointed out, the average price to see a primary care doctor has risen 20 percent; 29 percent for a specialist, and a whopping 43 percent for outpatient surgery. Increased out of pocket costs in copayments and deductibles have caused almost one in four people to put off treatment for major medical problems.
“Our national incumbents need to continue to fight for affordable healthcare, for ways to make the system work for their constituents, or they need to step down and let someone who wants to work do the job for them.”