As Senate takes up repeal bill, health care advocates rally in SL

As Senate takes up repeal bill, health care advocates rally in SL

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — As U.S. senators in Washington voted on a Republican proposal to replace Obamacare Tuesday evening, advocates in Salt Lake City rallied against federal legislation to repeal the law.

The group of about 100 protesters in Utah's capital city chanted "single-payer now!" and held posters saying "Don't take my care away" and "Listen to us! We are here."

Some who spoke at the patio outside the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building shared how they received medicine and surgeries through Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income people, and the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Paul Gibbs, a filmmaker and activist, held his infant son on his hip as he told the group that Medicaid covered his kidney transplant. And Obamacare allowed him and his wife to manage costs of having a baby, he said.

"This family wouldn't be here without Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act," he said.

Ellie Brownstein, a pediatrician, said she had just returned from visiting her mom, who has Alzheimer's disease. The trip highlighted that many will need care at some point in their lives, she said, criticizing the Republican legislation that would roll back Medicaid expansion.

"We have to find a better way," Brownstein said.

Others agreed.


Isaac Reese, a youth representative with the Utah Pride Center, said he is "disgusted" by the measure that he believes would hurt the state's LGBT teens who are homeless and now receive Medicaid.

Moroni Benally also chimed in, saying he feared people living on tribal lands also would have to go without health insurance.

The event, organized by the Utah Health Policy Project, is another of several rallies in recent weeks held outside the federal building, which is home to the Utah offices of Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee.


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