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Sen. Coons sees health care, opioid crisis as key election issues

Delaware Public Media

Polls show Democratic voters seem to be more enthusiastic this year. While some people are predicting a blue wave to take the U.S. House this year, others are skeptical.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) says he hopes that enthusiasm helps Democrats in the midterms.

Coons said the top issues he hears about from constituents are health care and the opioid crisis. He says Democrats fought Congressional Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But he adds the Trump administration succeeded in destabilizing it.

“I’m concerned we’re going to see double-digit increases in insurance rates later this year because of the administration’s ongoing efforts to undermine and destabilize the Affordable Care Act,” he said.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is Delaware’s only ACA insurer. Last year, Delaware’s insurance commissioner approved a 25 percent increase in Highmark premiums for Obamacare plans.

A Highmark spokesman said the company plans to submit its rate request for next year sometime in June.

Coons also points out that while the Trump administration declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, it didn’t provide any new funding for treatment.

He said Democrats want win control of Congress in November so they can invest more in health care, jobs and education.

“I agree with Republican Majority Leader McConnell that the control of the Senate is absolutely in play, but it’s going to be very hard fought," he said. "I think between here and November there’s going to be lots of twists and turns in this election.”

Delaware has received about $4 million in the past two years to help combat the opioid crisis. Coons said that will go to help about 900 Delawareans struggling with addiction.

While Coons is not up for re-election this year, Delaware’s senior Sen. Tom Carper is running for another term in office.

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