'If You Get Sick You Should Get Care': Coalition Organizes To Fight Against Death Of ObamacareBy Final Call News | Last updated: Jan 19, 2017 - 6:11:33 PM
CHICAGO—Supporters of the Affordable Care Act in the Windy City joined thousands across the country in rallies against attempts by President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a sensible replacement.
More than 800 people spilled into an overflow area outside the headquarters of SEIU Healthcare Illinois to hear attacks on Republican efforts to turn back the law. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Rev. Jesse Jackson and SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry were among leaders in the packed auditorium.
The Republican-controlled Congress took its first steps toward repeal in January by voting to allow part of the law to be rolled back. Tens of millions of people stand in danger of losing coverage if the ACA—or Obamacare, as it is called—is repealed.
“If you have ever had a moment in your life when you were a father of a sick daughter and had no health insurance, then you remember that as long as you live. I was that father. It happened to my family,” said Sen Durbin. “Now the first issue of the Republican Congress is to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We would lose the protection if you have a pre-existing condition. The ACA saves seniors across the United States an average of $1,000 a year on prescription drugs. For many of them it’s a matter of survival.
“I think my vote for the Affordable Care Act was the most important vote I’ve ever cast as a member of Congress,” he said.
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the eve of the national holiday in his name, his famous quote that “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane” rang throughout the room.
“We believe that if you get sick you should get care. There’s a movement to undermine not just the Affordable Care Act, but Medicare and Medicaid and access to healthcare. Those from Illinois know that we have a governor [Bruce Rauner] who has stood with Republicans and their belief that if you get sick you’d better be rich,” he said.
Citing potential job losses and federal funding, Rep. Schakowski called on Gov. Rauner to reject Mr. Trump and his party’s efforts. “Where is Governor Rauner’s voice? He should be shouting from the rooftops of all his houses,” she said.
Hospital worker Saundra Fulford told the crowd that “before Obamacare, preventable gangrene and septic infections were the rule of the day for patients who couldn’t afford healthcare. They let their diabetes or high blood go untreated.
“After Obamacare, we saw a flood of patients coming through the front door to get treatment for the first time. It’s no mystery what would happen if Obamacare is removed. For that I won’t have to take you to our hospital, I’ll just take you to the morgue,” she said.
Marca Bristo, CEO of Access Living, told the group that people with disabilities are the “canary in the coal mine” and “the tip of the spear” in the fight to preserve access to affordable healthcare.
She had no health insurance 40 years ago when she broke her neck and had to depend on Medicaid.
“The Affordable Care Act has given disabled people opportunities we have fought for for four decades. It’s time the insurance industry stop discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. This is about all of us.
“Lifetime caps only means shorter lives and death for people with disabilities. We say no to discrimination. We say no to make America sick again,” she said.