Eugene Rally to Save ACA
Eugene event encouraged Oregonians to fight back against GOP efforts to repeal Affordable Care Act
From Offices of Rep. DeFazio and Sen. Merkley
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressman Peter DeFazio joined an overflowing crowd of Oregonians for a rally to stand up against efforts by Trump and Congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The event, at Lane Community College in Eugene, highlighted the high cost of repeal for every Oregon family, with front-lines perspectives from Eric Richardson, president of the NAACP Eugene-Springfield; Maureen Andersen, a prenatal nurse whose patients include some of the most vulnerable Oregonians; and Louise Provost, a cancer patient whose treatment depends on the ACA.
“The Republicans are obsessed with getting rid of the ACA as fast as they can, without thinking about the real people whose lives are going to be devastated by the repeal-and-run strategy,” Merkley said. “I’ve heard the stories that reflect those of 400,000 Oregonians and 20 million Americans who benefited from the ACA. The only way we will prevent this repeal-and-run strategy from becoming law is if ordinary Americans raise their voices and speak out, and that’s exactly what so many Oregonians did today, in Eugene and at rallies across the state. We are going to make clear to the Republican Congress that we are not going to accept this strategy. We are going to fight back and save our health care.”
“Today is a big day of action! I’m looking forward to candidly discussing with constituents how to effectively engage in our democracy and joining Senator Jeff Merkley to rally to save the Affordable Care Act,” DeFazio said. “I’m proud to live in and represent an engaged community that wants to hear from their elected officials.”
The event featured the experiences of Andersen, a prenatal nurse, and Provost, a cancer patient.
“What I know is that if preventative care provided by the ACA goes away, my patients are going to get sicker and poorer,” Andersen said. “They’ll miss out on the birth control that makes the difference between joyous arrival and grim uncertainty. They’ll wait to initiate prenatal care. Deformities and anomalies in their babies will go undetected. They’ll give birth to more unplanned children who they don’t have the capacity to care for or partners to support them. The children and the moms will spend more expensive time in the hospital recovering from more high-risk births and congenital conditions. These are children who will always, always have preexisting conditions, and their future insurers will see them only as liabilities on balance sheets. And in a sense, insurers will be right. The strain on our health care system will be even greater than it is now, and we’ll all be paying for it one way or another.”
Provost was unable to attend the rally because she was at a chemotherapy appointment for cancer treatment, and instead sent a letter that was read aloud.
“When I walk through my low-income apartment complex, the fear is palpable. My neighbors are scared, my clients are scared; we don’t know how we can survive without our health care,” she wrote. “The fact that I live in Oregon is the only thing that gives me hope. We seem to care, and try, to fund health care in this state. If I lived anywhere else, I can’t imagine the depression I would feel. Obama Care, the ACA, OHP, they’re critical to the life of our community. They’re critical to my life. Please do everything you can to protect them, and give me – and countless others – a fighting chance.”
Last month, Republicans in both the Senate and the House took the first step to repeal the ACA with a narrowly passed a budget blueprint—a special procedural maneuver called budget reconciliation, which would allow them to pass a repeal bill with a simple majority on a party-line vote. Trump has pledged make the repeal and replacement of the ACA to happen simultaneously, but in the nearly seven years since the passage of the ACA, Republicans have never agreed on a plan to replace it.
This “repeal-and-run” strategy would throw millions off of their health coverage and cause chaos and rising costs across the health care system. Already insurers are openly concerned about the uncertainty around the ACA, and major insurers have said they need information from the government before they can decide whether to offer coverage. Likewise, Oregonians and all Americans have expressed concern about the future of their coverage, attending Congressional town halls in unprecedented numbers seeking answers.
The “Save Our Health Care Rally” was part of a national day of action with similar gatherings throughout the country providing a platform for Americans concerned about losing their health insurance and care options if the GOP succeeds in repealing Obamacare.