“Lives Could Be at Risk” Ellison and Dayton say of AHCA

Wednesday's press conference set a hard line for top Democratic leaders in the state.

Ellison, Dayton, health care
Image Credit: Preya Samsundar/Alpha News

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesotans could be in peril if the health care plan pushed by congressional Republicans is passed, according to top Democratic leaders in the state.

On Wednesday, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who also serves as Deputy Chair of the DNC, held a joint press conference with Gov. Mark Dayton and Emily Piper, the human services commissioner for Minnesota.

Ellison and Dayton both discussed the negative impact the passage of the American Health Care Act would have on the state and its citizens.

The meeting got off to a rocky start when a Bernie Sanders supporter stood up in the middle of the room and began questioning Ellison.

“You guys want to go on and on about the Republicans, but Democrats are as much to blame,” the unidentified man said.

Failing to get the man to be quiet and sit down, Ellison called for security to escort the man out stating, “Can you allow us to have our free speech as you try to cancel out ours?”  

Dayton told the crowd of reporters the health care plan would eliminate federal funds for Minnesota Care, with the overall plan cutting more than $2.8 billion a year by 2026. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the Senate version of the American Health Care Act would save the country $119 billion by 2026.

Tina Webb and James Robinson, two Minnesotans who depend on Medicaid and MinnesotaCare told reporters that the loss of Medicaid and MinnesotaCare could have adverse effects. Robinson told members of the media that even though he made mistakes in his life, the health care provided by the state has provided a support system to help him get clean.  

“There would have been no support system, who saw some good in me and said, ‘you deserve to live,’” Robinson said.  

“You need to be healthy,” Webb said. She said the ability to be healthy would lead to being prosperous.

“People need to raise their voices about the dangers of the House and Senate bills as if their lives depend on it,” Ellison told the crowd.

More than 23 million additional people would find themselves without health care according to the CBO score.

Overall, Ellison and Dayton shared a unified message of concern for the thousands of Minnesotans who could potentially lose their health care. However, neither Dayton or Ellison made attempts to address how they would try to lower health care  costs.

As Alpha News reported, Minnesota has been hit hardest when it comes to the rise in premium costs around the country. Minnesota’s Republican Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen, and Tom Emmer have shown their support for the bill. Republicans have looked to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act as premiums have continued to rise.


Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.