Protesters chant, "Don't take my healthcare!"

7 months 4 weeks 11 minutes ago Friday, January 27 2017 Jan 27, 2017 Friday, January 27, 2017 2:33:00 PM CST January 27, 2017 in News
By: Karla Valcourt, KOMU 8 News
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COLUMBIA - A group of protesters gathered in front of Senator Roy Blunt's office to make their voices heard regarding President Donald Trump's executive action to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

The group chanted "Don't take my health care!" and "Senator Blunt, support the Affordable Care Act!"

They said they have not been able to reach Blunt after writing him letters and calling his two offices. One protester, Scott Fines said he thinks Blunt is hiding from the group. 

"I sent a letter to his office, I don't know what happened to that letter, Fines said. "I called his office here in Columbia and I was hung up on. I called his office in District of Columbia twice and was hung up on."

Blunt's Director of Constituent Services Liz Behrouz collected addressed letters from the group and listened to their concerns regarding the removal of the Affordable Care Act.

"Oh, she heard it. I'm not sure anything is going to come of it," Fines said. 

Fines told KOMU 8 News he came to the protest on behalf of his son who was born with a birth defect called esophageal atresia. He said he is billed $20,000 to $30,000 in hospital bills every year because of his son's condition. 

"If the Affordable Care Act is appealed, then he will have a pre-existing condition and it's unlikely he will ever be able to obtain insurance," Fines said. 

According to Fines, even if his son could obtain health insurance, it would be outrageously expensive. He also said his son would not have the chance at a healthy life.

"We are not out to hurt people, believe me," said Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport. "We better come up with an alternative plan that helps people instead of hurting people."

One protesor told Behrouz "Obamacare" should not be removed if there is not something to replace it. Bayse said he has heard talk about putting the repeal into effect over a roughly three-year period.

"I know it's been mentioned that they're not just going to radically kick people off of their health insurance plans, Basye said. "It's going to be a well thought out process."

 

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