“The President hasn’t even been sworn in yet and already the Republicans have started to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Congresswoman Chellile Pingree (D) told 1,000 protesters who crowded the steps and sidewalks around city hall this afternoon. “We are mad and we are not going away. Everything isn’t perfect about it, but make it better.”
Today’s rally was one of many held around the country in response to the aggressive actions taken by the incoming administration to “repeal and delay” the replacement of affordable insurance. However, Republicans, who have opposed affordable health care for years, have failed to assuage the fears of those affected.
Rather, Mainers are extremely fearful of what the future will be like for them without affordable insurance speaker after speaker said. It was personal for Pingree. Her brother died of cancer because he could not get insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
Nicole Clegg, an official with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, urged protesters to not only attend rallies but to call their representatives and get involved. US House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) has made it clear that he intends to defund Planned Parenthood. “What does it say about leaders who want to take away health care for millions?” she asked.
Topsham resident Mary Henderson is not eligible for Medicare for another two years and will lose health care if the Affordable Care Act is not replaced with a comparable plan. “People are scared to death they will end up uninsured. I take medication for depression. I’m trying to get off some of it now because I won’t be able to afford it otherwise.”
Henderson was part of a panel of nine (9) people who met with Congresswoman Pingree prior to the outdoor rally and told her their stories about what the Affordable Care Act means to them. One thousand people responded to an on-line request to tell their stories to Chellie over a recent two-day period.