Southern Illinois group delivers Affordable Care Act support letters to congressman

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Southern Illinois group delivers Affordable Care Act support letters to congressman

Marisa Winegar, of Carbondale, poses for a photo Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at Republican U.S. Representative Mike Bost’s office in Carbondale. Winegar said she read in The Washington Post that repealing the Affordable Care Act would kill more than 43,000 people each year. “That’s like a 9/11 every month,” she said. “I think if we’re going to make America great, we have to invest in America’s people.” (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

Marisa Winegar, of Carbondale, poses for a photo Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at Republican U.S. Representative Mike Bost’s office in Carbondale. Winegar said she read in The Washington Post that repealing the Affordable Care Act would kill more than 43,000 people each year. “That’s like a 9/11 every month,” she said. “I think if we’re going to make America great, we have to invest in America’s people.” (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

Marisa Winegar, of Carbondale, poses for a photo Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at Republican U.S. Representative Mike Bost’s office in Carbondale. Winegar said she read in The Washington Post that repealing the Affordable Care Act would kill more than 43,000 people each year. “That’s like a 9/11 every month,” she said. “I think if we’re going to make America great, we have to invest in America’s people.” (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

Marisa Winegar, of Carbondale, poses for a photo Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at Republican U.S. Representative Mike Bost’s office in Carbondale. Winegar said she read in The Washington Post that repealing the Affordable Care Act would kill more than 43,000 people each year. “That’s like a 9/11 every month,” she said. “I think if we’re going to make America great, we have to invest in America’s people.” (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

By Diamond Jones

More than two dozen area residents gathered at their congressman’s Carbondale office Tuesday afternoon, urging support of the Affordable Care Act.

The group, affiliated with Action for a Better Tomorrow — Southern Illinois, brought 260 letters addressed to Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of the 12th District of Illinois. The demonstration was organized by women involved in Saturday’s Women’s March, as an attempt to sway the representative’s position on the law.

The letters were given to Matt Moberly, one of Bost’s Carbondale staffers, who spoke for Bost while the representative was in Washington. Moberly said the letters would be sent to Bost, and that a response would be issued sometime in early February.

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Since 2014, Bost has twice voted to repeal the health care law commonly known as Obamacare, according to his voting record. The congressman, who spent nearly 20 years in the Illinois House of Representatives, called the program “unaffordable and unworkable” and said Americans “should have the right to make their own health care choices.”

According to a January report released by the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan research organization that analyzes the U.S. Congress, the repeal of Obamacare would cause 18 million people to lose health insurance.

Trish Cameron, of Makanda, holds her 18-month-old daughter Hazel Cameron on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at Republican U.S. Representative Mike Bost’s office in Carbondale. Cameron and other community members met to deliver letters expressing their concerns about Bost’s support of possible policy changes, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. “I’m here for [my daughter],” she said. “I’m here for everyone marginalized.” (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

“I’m very concerned about the possibility of the ACA being repealed,” said Felicia Alexander, a visiting scholar at the SIU philosophy department. “We want Bost to read the letters and realize what could happen if affordable healthcare is repealed.”

Alexander said a close friend of hers has ACA and it saved her life because she was able to get a required surgery. She said that if Bost doesn’t reconsider his decision and does repeal the healthcare act, she hopes that whatever replaces it at least provides the same coverage and is inexpensive.

President Donald Trump is urging Congress to quickly repeal and replace the law, which he frequently attacked during his presidential campaign. On his first day in office, Trump signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the health care program.

Jill Adams, one of the event organizers, said that the Illinois Health and Hospital Association has said that  84,000 to 95,000 jobs could be lost in Illinois if Congress repeals the act.

“I would urge people who have been able to get insurance to contact their legislators to let them know how much the health care has benefited them,” Adams said.

Correction, Jan. 25: The quote by Felicia Alexander was “I’m very concerned about the possibility of the ACA being repealed,” not “appealed.” 

Correction: Jill Adams said she fears jobs could be lost if Congress, not the Illinois Hospital Association, repeals the act. 

Staff writer Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_dimewrites.

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