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Obamacare proponents rally to prove importance of the healthcare reform law

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The Single Payer Action Network of Ohio hosted a rally Jan. 15 at the Athens Courthouse to show support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA has been under scrutiny by members of the Republican Party since its enactment, with the newly Republican-controlled Congress attempting to repeal the legislation before the end of the month. While SPAN came out to represent the ACA’s benefits in Athens County, Democrats across the nation held a series of protests on Sunday to argue against the repeal, many using Twitter and #ourfirststand to document the events.

Photo by Heather Willard
Photo by Heather Willard

One thing the ACA has changed is accessibility to Planned Parenthood. Health care professional and speaker Nancy Shell said Planned Parenthood has helped 200,000 people in Athens with birth control, STI protection and reproductive health needs, adding that Athens County is the eighth highest in the state for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
In the state of Ohio, Gov. John Kasich has “enacted 18 restrictions to reproductive health care,” according to Planned Parenthood. “Gender equality is not possible if women cannot reach these goals,” Shell said.

Shell suggested staying informed and never losing hope. Arlene Sheak, regional director of SPAN, was next to speak, asserting that “health care is a human right.”

Sheak suggested that health care is becoming more of a corporate enterprise, using the Epipen and how its price spiked as an example. She said health care is turning into a business of profits over the needs of patients.

“Health care in America has strayed from its healing roots,” Sheak said.

The solution? People need accountability and transparency in the decision-making process, according to Sheak.

“We want publicly-funded, privately-delivered health care,” Sheak said.

Sheak suggested that people should tweet, message and call representatives to ask for their needs as citizens to be met. She said phone calls have to be answered rather than emails because they are easier to ignore.

Photo by Heather Willard
Photo by Heather Willard

“What’s being proposed is not going to affect me, but it’s going to affect you because most of (the health care programs), like Medicare and Social Security, say that if you are 55 and older you can have their traditional.If you’re under 55 you can have choices,” Hayden said.

Hayden maintained that people need comprehensive care rather than just choices, suggesting a raised payroll tax. He also insisted on calling local government officials so the issues of the people can be met.

The rally ended with the group planning to visit Rep. Steve Stivers’, R-Ohio, office on Tuesday.

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