National protest comes to Columbia to fight for Affordable Care Act

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COLUMBIA — Dozens of mid-Missourians met outside the Boone County Courthouse Friday to protest against Congress repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Local health care advocates and impacted families joined the nationwide "Save My Care Bus Tour" to voice their opposition of congressional plans to take ACA away.

504,000 Missourians are insured by the Affordable Care Act. 

Columbia minister Wesley Knight said ACA has directly changed his life. His wife was born with a seizure disorder.

"It's a terrible dignity to suffer, being denied access to health care when you're sick simply because you were born with some pre-existing condition," Knight said. "She got sick multiple times and after a couple of life-saving surgeries, found herself with six figures of medical debt that was just un-payable ."

Knight said his wife tried every health insurance company possible, but was denied by each before the ACA.

"What was so difficult about that and what's so sad is that she's a person that gives so much of herself back to society," he said. "We don't want to go back to a time when in the eyes of the health insurance industry, she wasn't a person because of her seizure disorder."

Columbia private practice physician Jeff Frey said the ACA has given his most vulnerable patients access to proper health care.

"If you replace it, make sure you can guarantee that people you're taking health insurance away from can get it in an affordable manner," Frey said. "Make sure that it's affordable access, so they don't have to worry about getting taken care of."

KOMU 8 News reached out to viewers who oppose the ACA all together.

Jefferson City resident Sam Powell said "It caused both what I pay for my family and what my employer pays for me to go up. Didn't help my family one bit."

Joshua Smith of Columbia also disagrees with ACA.

"I have two teenagers and I can't afford insurance. With the 'discount' I was still looking to pay $800 a month. I make $2,000 a month. That is almost half my wages. It's even more through the company I work for," Smith said. "Obamacare has been a burden on the average American."

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