Diana DeGette, Dems urge supporters to fight repeal of Obamacare
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette and other Democratic state and federal lawmakers rallied Obamacare supporters Sunday, urging them to fight against repeal of the law and promising to protect it from Republicans bent on scrapping it.
Repealing the law could strip health care from previously uninsured people who benefited from the 2014 launch of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, DeGette said.
Republicans in Congress are preparing to repeal the law but so far have presented no plan to replace it.
House Democrats across the country are holding events similar to DeGette’s.
“Repeal alone is going to wreak havoc on health care across the country,” DeGette told a crowd that organizers estimated at close to 500.
“It would make health care across the board more expensive — raising premiums, prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs. And it would rip insurance coverage away from up to 30 million people.”
Colorado residents who buy their health insurance themselves are expected to pay 20 percent more on average this year, and Republicans blame the ACA for the increases.
The law prohibits insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions and provides subsidies to those who can’t afford to pay for their policies.
Instead of repealing the law, DeGette said, “Congress should be working to bring the premiums down.”
“We will not return to a time when people can’t get insurance because they have cancer or diabetes.”
The GOP has had six years to design a replacement for the present law but hasn’t done so, DeGette said.
Corletta Hithon, a home health care worker, said she recently began having serious problems with her eyes and made too much to qualify for help under Colorado’s Medicaid program.
She received Medicaid through the ACA, she said, and now has insurance. “I don’t want a handout; I want a hand up,” she said.
Almost 300 people listened to speakers inside the hall, and an additonal 200 or so stood on the sidewalk outside, many of them carrying signs condemning the repeal.
Ron Ruggiero, president of Local 105 of the Service Employees International Union, suggested that each attendee contact 10 people they know by phone, e-mail or text, and inform them that repeal will have an adverse impact on the country.
“We see the direction they want to take this nation, and it is your job to talk to your friends and family,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter.
Supporters will have to continue to fight for the ACA every single day, he added. “We can’t take our democracy or the Affordable Care Act for granted.”
Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran also spoke at the event.
A second rally to support the ACA was scheduled for later Sunday at the state Capitol.Content originally published by the Denver Post on January 15, 2017.