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Fearing that Donald Trump will make good on his promise to end the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, thousands of San Franciscans demonstrated at Civic Center on Jan. 15, their chants echoing from the steps of City Hall.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by local politicians, doctors and advocates, vocalized her dedication to preserve the (ACA) with her movement called #OurFirstStand.
“Donald Trump and the Republicans in congress want to tear down the ACA,” Pelosi said. “That plan is to make America sick again.”
Established March 23, 2010, the ACA was passed with the goal of extending affordable health insurance to people across the financial spectrum.
Senate Republicans took their first major step towards repealing the ACA on Jan. 12 when they approved, via a 51 to 48 vote, a budget blueprint that would allow them to gut funding for the ACA. Though Senate Democrats objected and even protested on the Senate floor, their efforts were futile.
“Sadly, we find ourselves in a place we need to worry about whether our lowest income residents will have insurance,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said. “The ACA has bettered the lives for too many Americans to be thrown out.”
One by one, doctors, health advocates and even some San Francisco supervisors stepped up to the microphone to justify how important the ACA is to many Americans.
Kathy Forte, a mother, spoke of how the ACA helped her family during a time of crisis. She held a small, framed portrait of her 24-year-old son, Tom, who suffered a stroke and had to be hospitalized for four days in August of 2016.
“If the ACA is repealed, my son Tom and thousands of other children who are covered by their parents in the Bay Area, will lose these benefits,” Forte said through tears.
Many in the audience nodded their heads and murmured in agreement, while others held signs that read, “Health care is a human right.”
The ACA, among other things, allowed young adults to remain on their parents health insurance until the age of 26.
“If it was repealed, many people who are on their family’s healthcare plans will be cut off,” said Tim Killikelly, president of the AFT 2121 teacher’s union at City College of San Francisco. “And that puts a lot of younger people in a very vulnerable position.”
Story by: Cassie Ordonio