*Originally Published in the Appalachian News-Express*
By Buddy Forbes
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing to a repeal the Affordable Care act, without a replacement in place, after Republican efforts to replace the act failed to pass through Congress. Now, a national day of action has been announced. With states across the U.S. making plans to rally for their healthcare, many Kentuckians are planning to join together next weekend to let their voices be heard.
According to a statement from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, “right now is a critical moment” to speak up for healthcare. The organization announced a “Rally for Healthcare” that is set to take place in Coal Run next Saturday and a sister rally which is scheduled in Louisville.
According to the release, the Coal Run rally will have guest speakers from across the region, talking about the benefits of “keeping and expanding access to affordable healthcare.” Which is a stark contrast to the plan being pushed by McConnell.
“I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful. That does not mean we should give up,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “We will now try a different way to bring the American people relief from Obamacare. I think we owe them at least that much. In the coming days, the senate will take up and vote on a repeal of Obamacare combined with a stable, two-year transition period, as we work toward patient-centered healthcare.”
Earlier this week, Gov. Matt Bevin spoke in regards to the healthcare issue on the Tom Roten Morning Show, saying he agreed with McConnell’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“As a result of resistance from some folks, there were not enough votes to move forward. What is on the docket is a piece of legislation that would repeal it,” said Bevin. “So, to that end, I would say ‘Let’s do that.’ It can’t be any worse than what we have. What we have is an absolute disaster.”
According to Bevin, it’s time to start from scratch.
“I applaud Sen. McConnell for his acknowledgement that the next step is to simply pass a bill to repeal it. Fantastic. Let’s do that. It doesn’t prevent us from replacing it in the future, but then we start with a blank piece of paper,” he said.
Bevin said the current healthcare system isn’t working for rural Kentuckians.
“It’s what the American people desperately need and want. Ask your listeners, many of them in rural Kentucky and rural West Virginia. Ask them how having a Medicaid card has helped them,” Bevin said on the show. “For many, it has made healthcare less-accessible. There are fewer doctors who will see them, the cost of being seen has been going up for those who are paying. They’re paying more for their premiums and higher deductibles to the extent that they can’t even afford them. Those who are getting it for free are seen by fewer and fewer doctors. So, everybody is losing.”
However, according to the statement from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, the proposals to eliminate the Affordable Care Act “threaten the lives and health of … hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.”
The rally, which will begin at 11 a.m. on July 29, will serve as a forum for rural Kentucky to be its own voice, according to KFTC. The rally is set to be held at the Coal Run City Park. For more information, visit the “Rally For Health Care: Our Lives Are On The Line” event on Facebook.