Congressional Candidate Lauren Underwood Visits PR

Congressional candidate for the 14th district Lauren Underwood visited PR students on October 9, 2018.

Congressional candidate for the 14th district Lauren Underwood visited PR students on October 9, 2018.

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It’s election season, which means candidates are in the thick of campaigning to gain the support of voters.

Last Tuesday, PRHS received a visit from Lauren Underwood, the District 14 congressional candidate for the democratic party.

Lauren Underwood is a 32 year old registered nurse and health policy expert from Naperville. To introduce herself to the PR students, she mentioned that while trying to expand health care coverage around the country, she worked to improve health care quality in preventive services (pre-screening, vaccines, contraception coverage) and the Medicare program. She also indicated that she worked on private insurance reform and helped to implement the Affordable Care Act at the federal level.

With the Obama Administration, she worked on public health emergencies and disasters such as the Flint Water Crisis and the Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks. Most recently, she has been working for a Medicaid-managed care company in Chicago.

Although Underwood built her campaign platform on many issues, her main focus is affordable health care.  She expressed to PR students that her plan stems from the belief that every American has the right to basic affordable health care and she is particularly concerned that people with pre-existing conditions are unable to receive coverage from insurance.

Underwood stated that “insurance companies have been able to deny health care coverage to people just because they may have been sick in the past, or healthcare companies were able to charge someone 20 times the price of a healthy person.” As a person who has a pre-existing heart condition herself, it is understandable that this would be a concern of Underwood’s.

Drew Gende, a senior AP Government student asked,  “How are you going to prevent people from taking advantage of the system?” Underwood responded with how she wants to make sure insurance companies can’t hike up the price of the premium for those with pre-existing conditions, but they still must pay for each of their treatments as any other insurance holder would. She stated that her plan “allows for anyone to have an insurance card in their possession so that if they go to a hospital to be seen, they won’t be turned away because of lack of insurance.”

One of the other topics that she highlighted was the issue of local employment. Underwood explained that the highest employing business in District 14 is Six Flags Great America but it is only open 6 months out of the year, which means that it provides only seasonal and part-time jobs.  She then informed students that the second and third highest employers were Northern Illinois University and Fermilab, a United States Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. However, both of those employers require a specific skill set.

Underwood claimed that “75% of the people in McHenry County who work, leave our district to work in and around Chicago.” Underwood sees this as a problem because “if we don’t have jobs here, why would people move here?” She wishes to change this by attracting more companies to our district to raise under-employment rates.

Underwood said that she also has plans for supporting the public education system and helping out small businesses in the district.  

Towards the end of her presentation senior AP Government student, Camron Greetham, asked “Recently, congressional Democrats seem to be making a push that if they win the House, they will file impeachment articles against President Trump. What is your opinion on that matter?”

Underwood gave an unbiased response, saying, “Filing for impeachment now is premature.” She referenced how Robert Muller has his investigation looking into the allegations against Trump and while we have had prosecutions and people indicted through the investigation, she expressed that she thinks we need to let him complete his investigation to find out what really happened. “We need to send out the finalized report to the American people and enable the public to make their own conclusions. And if there are crimes against Trump, then the Congress should move forward with impeachment if warranted. I think right now it is premature and I don’t support it.”

Congressman Randy Hultgren also visited PR on Monday, October 15th and State Senator Pamela Althoff will be visiting on Wednesday, October 24th.

If you wish to learn more about Lauren Underwood and her campaign, click: Lauren Underwood For Congress

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