Supporters of ACA hold vigil in Galena


Constituents from Ohio’s 12th Congressional District held a candlelight vigil Wednesday as the U.S. House of Representatives moves forward with plans to vote to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Republican replacement plan, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA), could be particularly devastating for elderly and low-income residents in Ohio who rely on Medicaid assistance, a news release from the group stated.

Under the new plan, Ohio could lose up to $26 billion in federal Medicaid funding, which could have dire consequences for the more than 3 million Ohioans enrolled in that program. Ultimately, 24 million Americans could lose their health insurance coverage under the plan, supporters of the ACA contend.

“The vigil was a solemn event for constituents who are frustrated with the new plan and who recognize the vital coverage that the ACA has provided for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.”

Several speakers and vocalists contributed to the gathering, which was held at McNamara Park in Galena.

Attendees shared their reasons for coming to the vigil.

“I’m attending the vigil tonight with my daughter out of my deep concern for the welfare of all the children of Ohio who are currently being covered by Medicaid,” said Chrys Gee, from Clintonville. “Our most vulnerable should not be put in a position where they may lose coverage and not receive the care they need.”

“I’m attending the vigil to protest against a health care bill that is tone deaf to Trump’s promises of care for all, cheaper, better,” said Barbara Fleeter, of Columbus.

“I’m particularly concerned about how the bill dismantles the Medicaid system by pulling back on Medicaid expansion and by changing the delivery of the funding into a grant system that doesn’t guarantee coverage for each person’s particular health situation. It instead creates a limited fund pool that can be exhausted before all the health care needs of the recipients are funded. This will particularly harm the rust- and coal-belt communities in Ohio.”

The replacement vote is scheduled for the seventh anniversary of the ACA. Supporters of the ACA are hosting a rally and news conference outside Rep. Pat Tiberi’s office in Worthington beginning at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Staff report

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