Obamacare advocates anxious about new health care bill on table

Councilwoman Lauren McNally is asking for other local communities to join Youngstown and pledge their support for the Affordable Care Act

Youngstown meeting for advocates of Affordable Care Act, Gary Hassay


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Affordable Care Act advocates held a small meeting in Youngstown Tuesday night to talk about why they think the ACA needs to stay.

Health care continues to be the hot topic across the country. On Tuesday, Republican leaders delayed the vote on a new health care bill until after the July 4 recess.

The gathering of about 15 people inside The Federal in downtown Youngstown was a called a community conversation on health care. It gave people from the area a chance to voice their concerns about the new bill.

Among one of the speakers was Gary Hassay. He said when his son was born prematurely in 2011, he relied on the ACA.

“Without the Affordable Care Act, we were worried he would’ve been subject to annual and lifetime caps. He might have been excluded from insurance because he was born premature and we were worried about that.”

Hassay said it’s telling that the Senate had to delay its vote.

“If they have to delay, that means they don’t have a bill they all don’t agree upon and again, they had seven years to come up with a bill. They promised a bill as soon as they hit the majority…they don’t have a bill.”

Youngstown’s Fifth Ward Councilwoman Lauren McNally mentioned city council’s passage of a resolution pledging support for the ACA. She’s asking for other local communities to do the same.

“The question is, what aren’t my concerns with this new health care act? I mean, to be honest, people still don’t know everything that’s going to be in it,” McNally said. “They’ve been debating it behind closed doors. We’re not sure what’s going to be in it but we do know people will be left out.”

Ultimately, the decision will be made in Washington.

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman released a statement Tuesday, saying he cannot support the bill in its current form because of its Medicaid policies but plans to continue working with his colleagues.

His vote is considered a crucial one.

Ohio Governor John Kasich publicly stated he’s voiced his concerns about the bill to Portman. Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in Columbus over the weekend, targeting Portman and asking him to vote “no.”

Ohio’s Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown also issued a statement Tuesday, saying instead of delaying a vote on a bad bill, the Senate should work together to make a bill that helps everyone.

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