- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who worked to pass the Affordable Care Act now under a renewed attack from Republicans, said Tuesday some provisions of the 2010 law need to be fixed, but that doesn’t mean the whole program should be scrapped.

The GOP and presidential nominee Donald Trump have seized upon the news that premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama’s health care law and that many consumers will have just one choice of insurer.

Trump insists “Obamacare is just blowing up.” Democrat Hillary Clinton has vowed to preserve insurance for the millions of American covered under the law, but her team has said the premium increases are a concern.

Baldwin, in Milwaukee, said there are adjustments to the program that can be made to deal with price increases, such as addressing steep increases from pharmaceutical companies that charge more for their products “just because they can.”

“When you read stories about say the EpiPen going from $100 for two EpiPens to $600 (with) no justification, no explanation. That’s what we have to rein in,” she said.

Baldwin said provisions of the law that need to be saved include reduced prescription drug co-pays for people on Medicare, one that provides preventive care for free and another that she championed which allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plans up to age 26.

“If you think about the cost of repeal, costs would go through the roof. You would see a return to the days when insurance companies could simply say ‘no’ because you have a pre-existing health condition, that they could impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage leaving people bankrupt again like the days before the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ report late Monday about sharp premiums increases provided Republicans fighting to keep House and Senate seats fresh political fuel in the final days before the Nov. 8 election.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, fighting former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold to keep his seat from Wisconsin, has aired an ad featuring Wisconsin voters complaining about the law. “Thank you Russ Feingold … for nothing!” one woman said in the ad.

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