About a dozen women demonstrated in support of the resolutionPublished: 6/22/17 @ 12:00
Resolution ‘strongly opposing’ repeal of ACA passes unanimously
Leaders of Valley Voices United for Change are happy that Youngstown City Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday “strongly opposing” repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and are hopeful that council’s action will trigger similar legislative action across the Mahoning Valley, Ohio and the nation.
“We think this is a long-term fight. Health care is the first of many items that working people have fought many years for that are under attack by the Republican-controlled Congress,” said Karen Zehr, one of the group’s spokeswomen, during a rally in front of city hall before the council meeting,
Valley Voices fears proponents of the proposed American Health Care Act will try to force a vote on the issue before July 4.
“Medicare and Social Security are also on the GOP agenda. They want to cut funding for domestic programs and raise military funding and privatize everything that they can,” Zehr said.
The fight to save the Affordable Care Act moves to Warren with a rally and vigil at 6 p.m. Monday in Courthouse Square at Market Street and Park Avenue.
Billed as “Stand Up to Defend Our Health,” leaflets promoting the event were passed out during the Youngstown rally attended by about a dozen women.
The leaflets say that repeal of the Affordable Care Act could cause nearly 540,000 Ohioans to lose their health care. It also says that one in every six jobs in the Mahoning Valley are health care related, that funds to fight opioid crisis would be slashed, and that people with pre-existing conditions – 51 percent of those under 65 in the Mahoning Valley – could be priced-out of health care coverage.
“It’s really mind-boggling that we are going to lose health care if the AHCA is passed and the ACA is repealed. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Atty. Jodi Malmisur of the Mahoning County Child Support Enforcement Agency.
“We just need to mobilize and make our voices heard,” Zehr said.
From a physician perspective, Dr. Alexis Smith, also a spokesman for Valley Voices, said she and other physicians are concerned about their patients’ potential loss of health care coverage with phasing-out of Medicaid expansion and loss of coverage for pre-existing conditions, such as cancer.
She said community hospitals, such as Trinity Health System in Steubenville where she works, would be severely impacted.
“It would be great if Congress was working on fixing, not repealing the Affordable Care Act. But it’s all behind doors. It’s kind of scary,” Dr. Smith said.
“Loss of the Affordable Care Act would be hard on my family,” said Valeria Concalves of Youngstown.
“We are one of the largest countries in the world and we can’t have free health care? What they are doing is unfathomable ... taking away something that is giving health care to millions,” Conclaves said.
Bonnie Wilkinson of Austintown, another demonstrators, said she believes health care should be a right. “Everybody, not just the rich, deserves good health care,” she said.