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Letter: Cramer forgets North Dakotans with health care vote

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., let North Dakotans down this week with his health care vote.

The bill almost entirely eliminates funding covering the 300,000 North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions. Various members of my family fit into this category.

Cancer diagnoses and organ transplants are trying enough without people having to worry about being covered. So I was disappointed but, sadly, not surprised by Cramer's vote.

Health care's been a hot topic since the Affordable Care Act was passed, as the act has been far from perfect. Promises to "keep the doctor you like" and a faulty website are blotches on the Obama administration's efforts.

But by rolling back pre-existing condition clauses and allowing caps on lifetime coverage, Cramer and the House have done nothing to address real concerns and have only worsened access to affordable care.

The bill didn't even have a cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. During my time in the state Legislature, we wouldn't vote on bills unless we had a Fiscal Note explaining exactly how much any piece of legislation would cost.

With so much at stake, blindly voting for major legislation without knowing the costs, as Cramer did, is the very definition of fiscal irresponsibility.

Only 110,000 Americans nationwide with pre-existing conditions would have their coverage protected, analysts say. But Texas or Florida alone have more people than that with pre-existing conditions.

Don't kid yourself: Washington will never prioritize North Dakota's needs over the interests of big states such as those. This only makes Cramer's failure to stand up for his constituents that much more appalling.

Ben Hanson

West Fargo

Hanson, a Democrat, represented District 16 in the North Dakota House from 2013 to 2016.