Protesters voice concern over possible Obamacare repeal

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COLUMBIA – Concerned community members gathered at Republican U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler’s office Tuesday to protest a recent development in repealing Obamacare.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, works to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans. President Obama signed the act in 2010, but since Republicans gained a crucial victory with president-elect Donald Trump, it could soon be repealed.

In what many are calling a major step in killing Obamacare, the Senate reached a budget resolution for repealing the health care law on January 12.

About 15 faith leaders and community members stood in front of Hartzler’s office to urge others to make their voices heard in protecting the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s a matter of human dignity and the rights of all people to be able to access health care,” said protester Martha Jolly.

“I know in my own experience it came into play just in time for our son to be able to come back on our health care for a few years after he graduated college,” Jolly said.

Obamacare provided health coverage for around 20 million Americans. It allows children under the age of 26 to stay on their parent’s plan and provides coverage for preventive care and preexisting conditions.

“It affects my life tremendously, because of my wife’s preexisting condition. She was born with epilepsy,” said protester Wesley Knight. “Throughout her entire adult life, she was denied coverage.”

Knight said on two occasions his wife required surgeries to save her life and did not have insurance. This resulted in a massive amount of medical debt.

“It’s been ruinous for her. Her credit rating is destroyed. She can’t get approved for a loan. She can’t buy a car on her own. It’s all, like for so many other Americans, because of unpaid medical debt so that some select few can get even more wealth,” Knight said.

According to some Republicans, this quest for universal insurance alienates certain groups of Americans, making them pay higher premiums. They also say the law enforces unneeded costs on businesses.

A Congresswoman Hartzler spokesman sent KOMU 8 News the following statement.

“The Congresswoman welcomes and appreciates input from the people of Missouri’s Fourth as Congress works to bring patient-centered, not government-mandated, solutions to truly fix our broken healthcare system. It is important to note that nothing has been repealed. Further, for those currently receiving care, we are committed to a smooth and stable transition to a system that provides more options, more access, and lower prices. For the many others being hurt by Obamacare, we are committed to bringing relief from this failing law.”

Protesters held signs that read “Protect #ACA”, “A call to dignity” and “Laws are moral choices”.

Jolly says she frankly has a hard time seeing an Obamacare repeal supporter’s side, because she thinks the government should provide for the least among us.

She wants Obamacare “to be able to move forward and continue providing the kind of coverage that we believe as faith leaders that our citizens and our community members and congregation members deserve to have.”

KOMU 8 News reached out to Boone County Republicans for its thoughts on why they believe Obamacare should be repealed, but we did not receive a response prior to our deadline.

The approved budget resolution for repealing Obamacare says House and Senate committees must draft repeal legislation by January 27.