MODESTO -- For demonstrators on Thursday, their fight to keep their health coverage took place on a grassy patch in front of Congressman Jeff Denham’s Modesto office. Families and health care providers want Denham to vote "no" on a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Denham is in Washington, D.C., but said in a statement, “In reviewing this bill, it seems to address many of my constituents’ concerns, including protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing individuals up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance and keeping the ban on lifetime coverage limits.”
The demonstrators said the decision could devastate millions of people.
"Even with good health insurance, I was paying about $10,000 out of pocket,” Rebekah Turnbaugh, a Stanislaus County woman said.
Turnbaugh said she was paralyzed as a baby, contracted Hepatitis C through a blood transfusion in her teens, and doesn’t know what life would be like if she wasn’t insured,
"I can't imagine if I hadn't been covered that I would have been able to undergo that treatment, and so who knows if I would have been here or if I would have been able to survive that,” Turnbaugh said.
Angel Espinoza of Tracy is employed but said, she too, would have limited health care options.
"Having to pay $150 every time I have to go get a prescription filled is a lot of money,” Espinoza said.
Denham added in his statement, “This bill is the first of several steps toward a more affordable and patient-centered healthcare system for America, and I will make sure that my constituents’ voices are heard in Washington."
But families, nurses and other health care providers said that’s not good enough and fear what may happen if the ACA is taken away.
"This impacts my family and my nephews and nieces that are on ACA. This is going to affect my personal and professional life,” said Reyna Gonzales, a lab technician.
The statement from Denham’s office also said that, “The Central Valley, along with many other rural areas, have a huge lack-of-access issue. California is currently the 48th-lowest state for reimbursement rates to doctors who accept Medicaid patients, which means we have fewer doctors willing to serve our community than we would otherwise. In order to attract more doctors to our community and improve their ability to treat the sick, we must improve reimbursement rates as well as increase residency positions in underserved areas.”
A representative with the California Nurses Union also said during the protest that a repeal of the ACA would leave hundreds of healthcare workers unemployed.