SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – Concerned about losing their healthcare, approximately a dozen people spent almost an hour rallying outside of Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Kelly’s Sharon office on Friday.
They’re worried he and his fellow Republicans will repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, without having a replacement.
While those in support of the ACA say it’s helped many Americans, especially those in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, they’re still being met with opposition.
The group gathered outside of the Congressman’s office chanting, “It’s cold outside but we’re here to say, Mike Kelly hands off the ACA!”
There were signs and cheers with different messages, but all were aimed at the same cause.
“We’ve been asking for years to have a meeting with him, just to talk and communicate,” Sheila Nowinski said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on in Washington right now, and we think he owes it to us to come and talk and tell us what’s going on.”
Diane Syphrit claimed it’s been a while since Kelly has talked with his constituents.
“The last time he actually came to any place in the district and had an open town hall where people could just come and ask questions — six years! And we’re willing to drive anywhere in the district and he’s not willing to do that.”
Brian Skibo, who is battling an inoperable and incurable brain tumor, came to protest after his chemo appointment. He said he is one of 5.5 million Pennsylvanians with a preexisting condition.
“Without the Affordable Care Act, we would be denied.”
Jim Ashbaugh, of Sharon, doesn’t understand why they’re protesting.
“They want to keep Obamacare the way it is. Obamacare was not a help to anybody. It hurt more families than it did good,” he said.
The rally in Sharon on Friday was not the first of its kind. Protests like this have been popping up across the country, made up of people who are worried about a repeal without a replacement.
In a statement, Congressman Kelly said:
Obamacare is a failed law. Its higher costs and broken promises are actively hurting countless families and workers throughout Western Pennsylvania and across America. My colleagues and I in Congress have promised to provide Americans relief, and that’s what we were elected to do. Those getting hurt by Obamacare should have hope, and those worried about losing their coverage should take comfort that we will not repeat the mistakes of Obamacare’s clumsy creation. We will continue working to responsibly repeal and replace this failed law until cost-lowering, patient-centered health care reform for all Americans is finally achieved.”
But he didn’t address what it could potentially be replaced with.
“That’s why I think it’s important that he comes here as they’re trying to work out what to do with the ACA. Come here and see how it affects all of us,” Nowinski said.
The group of protesters said they will continue to hold these rallies until they are given an opportunity to speak with Kelly directly. They want to make sure their voices are heard.