In the wake of its repeal, hundreds of United States citizens have taken their stand to support the Affordable Care Act. And, Senator Bernie Sanders was behind all of it.
When millions of people stand together we win. Take a stand today to protect health care for all. https://t.co/oVtr4LCpHV
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 15, 2017
NPR reports that the Senator used the power of social media and email to organize Our First Stand, the first act to Save Health Care. Sanders nearly five million Twitter supporters were urged to find a rally in their local area and attend. Although Democrats have little voice in Washington after the GOP takeover, some thought it was critical that the party make a dramatic stand to gather support for the fight against repeal.
“The immediate goal of the rallies is to show Republicans that the majority of people are against repealing the Affordable Care Act…Our job today is to defend the ACA. Our job tomorrow is to bring about a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.”
The Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, has been met with mixed feelings by the American public since its enactment. But, today, nearly 30 million individuals are covered by the health marketplace. To end the provisions of the Act will leave millions of people in an unknown state of coverage.
“There are differences of opinion about the Affordable Care Act — some like it, some don’t like it. But very few Americans believe that we should repeal the ACA without a replacement program to make it better,” Sanders said at one of 70 rallies organized by Democrats for the day of action on Sunday, NBC News reports.
On Friday, the House took the first of two steps to repeal the Act, with a vote of 227 to 198. Plans to take the first step in the repeal process were not supported by Democrats or Rand Paul, R-Kentucky. Republicans have not confirmed whether or not they will have a replacement program established in time for the planned repeal.
Sunday’s rallies, which spanned from Maine to California, gave citizens affected by the health care laws to tell their stories in front of the masses, including Republicans.
Scott Gledhill, a 73-year-old, took a moment to talk about his health expenses, “Two months after aging into Medicare, I got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My bill would have been half a million dollars. I would have lost everything I had, after a whole lifetime of work and saving.”
Sagen Isham described her feelings regarding the health care changes as “scary.” She had recently signed up for coverage from the Affordable Care Act, “I have pre-existing conditions. I need the coverage…”
Brian Kline, a 45-year old from Quakertown, also told his story. A year ago, Kline was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid eligibility, providing him with coverage for the first time in nine years. Enduring the battle has required extensive care, including surgery, chemotherapy, and regular blood tests.
When asked, the Morning Call states Kline disclosed that “As of right now, I estimate that my cancer care has probably cost over $100,000…If I survive for the next five years, I’m not sure what the final price tag will be. Now I work a part-time job at a retail store making $11.66 an hour. I cannot afford to pay for my cancer bill out of my pocket.”
— Joyce Linehan (@ashmont) January 15, 2017
Thousands reported to Sunday’s rally and even more are expected to gather on January 21st in support of the Million Women March. The event will also focus on health care in addition to the fair and equal treatment of women.
[Featured Image by Ron Sachs/CNP/MediaPunch/IPX/AP Images]