Matt McColm, Main Street Alliance member and owner of Suzie Health Solutions in Wenatchee, spoke out at an empty chair town hall in Washington’s 8th congressional district this past Saturday. Sharing his perspective as an insurance producer and as someone with a pre-existing condition, Matt talked about the importance of protecting the Affordable Care Act, and solutions for better health care.
“A year ago my life changed.” Matt told the crowded auditorium, “I was diagnosed with diabetes. With this major pre-existing condition I would have quickly been priced out of any plan with the ACA replacement bills, as would most in my situation.”
As an insurance producer and small business owner tasked with navigating the complicated healthcare system, Matt is an expert at helping and educating his customers, and a firm advocate for protecting the progress made with the ACA.
“My focus has always been to provide better products without adding on fees,” he explained. “I started figuring out how the ACA worked, started teaching people, and I wrote policies. I became a top producer for the exchange in 2014 by not discriminating.”
The event, hosted by Indivisible, brought together activists and concerned citizens in the district, who have been eager to talk to their representative. Unfortunately, Rep. Dave Reichert has not held an in-person town hall meeting in years, instead opting to convene remotely with his constituents through “tele-town halls.” In his place, Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) stepped in for her colleague to address the group and answer questions.
Back in May, the Main Street Alliance of Washington organized small businesses owners to meet with Rep. Reichert. In the small group meeting at his Issaquah office, the business owners urged him to oppose any efforts to repeal the ACA. Matt shared his experience from this meeting.
“Our message to the congressman,” Matt said, “was that the ACA has been a gift for us. Small businesses now have access to coverage, which leveled the playing field compared to big business….We were no longer locked into a job that we hated for a large corporation just for health insurance. The drop in medical bankruptcies has been cut in half and my neighbor’s lives were improving.”
Despite Rep. Reichert’s absence, Matt remains committed to his work in improving health care. “I hope we can keep working towards better, more affordable healthcare,” Matt said, “and I certainly hope we can have Congressman Reichert’s support on that.”