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Tracy Mitrano talks health care in city

Tracy Mitrano

Last night, Tracy Mitrano, candidate for Congress 2020, made an appearance in Dunkirk, the first of her “5 Stops in 5 Days” campaign on healthcare listening.

In the press release for the campaign, Mitrano said, “I am excited to travel across the region to listen to the stories from people in the 23rd Congressional District about their experience with the healthcare system. The truth is, our current healthcare system is not working for many Americans. Medical care, especially in rural New York, is not always available or affordable and the cost of prescription drugs is out of control. Addressing the health care dilemma is at the top of my priority list and I want to hear from as many residents as I can to represent them in Congress.”

At the town hall-style session, Mitrano was introduced by Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas. “It’s about time for us to get together and show our district that we belong. That the democrats are strong and it’s time for a change,” said Rosas. “I can see some changes coming if Tracy Mitrano is voted in.”

Mitrano then took the stage, introducing herself with her core campaign goal. “My heart has grown as I have met more people, learned about your experiences. Sometimes your experiences have broken my heart, but that’s how you find a heart and that is really what the core of this campaign is about,” said Mitrano.

She then started off the healthcare topic with a personal story of her own, about her brother. She explained how she grew up seeing the healthcare systems we have had in place over the years, witnessing how her developmentally disabled brother was treated throughout his life. “He is doing very well now, I am his guardian since my parents have passed and he is in a group home,” said Mitrano.

“It is hardwired in me to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves, or whose voices may not carry to the same degree that someone who does speak up,” said Mitrano. “I can’t think of a circumstance more wanting for that kind of attention than healthcare.”

Before opening the stage up to the attendees, Mitrano shared one other personal story about her mother. After hospital error, her mother ended up being in the intensive care unit in the hospital, locally, for about nine months, having had six major surgeries. Her mother passed away not too long after these surgeries.

A couple months later, the bills from the hospital came pouring in, according to Mitrano. Her father was receiving bills that added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The situation was eventually settled in court, but Mitrano said, “What if it hadn’t been the responsibility of the hospital? What if something just happened to your mother or you or your father?”

“There’s something not right about that and I share it because I’m sure you have stories like that too,” said Mitrano. She then opened the floor for comments and stories from the crowd about healthcare.

During the open floor, there were many heartfelt and heartbreaking stories about how the current healthcare system in the United States has let its civilians down. Mitrano put an emphasis on medication costs, saying that it’s important for the government to set a cap on the prices.

While there were no positive stories about our country’s current healthcare system, some spoke of different countries and how their healthcare systems have proven to be much better than ours, according to them. Mitrano encouraged these comments, emphasizing that our country can do better and we should start in a progressive state like New York.

Mitrano also addressed possible opposition to a healthcare program like a single payer system and said that a lot of the oppositions are myths, echoing an audience member. Another opposition to a single payer system that may come about would be the laborers in the area, since they have worked and fought for their current healthcare plans through their employers. A supporter came back to Mitrano with saying that they may not all be oppositional towards the idea of a single payer system since they still have a large portion of their checks going towards their insurance, plus all the copays that still exist with their plans.

Overall, the theme of this campaign, “5 Stops in 5 Days,” Mitrano says that she is aiming for more universal, affordable and available healthcare for all.

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