Leader Pelosi, LA Area Members Hold Event to Support the Affordable Care Act

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addresses the event. Photo by Keyang Pang
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addresses the event. Photo by Keyang Pang

Los Angeles – Today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) and members of the Greater Los Angeles Area Congressional Delegation led “#FacesOfObamacare: Health Care Is a Human Right,” an event in support of the Affordable Care Act, featuring personal testimonials from individuals about how the ACA has improved Americans’ health and made health care more affordable.  The event was held at The California Endowment in Downtown Los Angeles, and participants in the event included Leader Pelosi, Congressmembers Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Judy Chu (CA-27), J. Luis Correa (CA-46), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Mark Takano (CA-41), Norma Torres (CA-35), and Maxine Waters (CA-43), California Endowment President and CEO Robert K. Ross, MD, Community Clinic Association of LA County President and CEO Louise McCarthy, and four individuals who provided personal testimonials supporting the ACA: Maryann Hammers, Pacific Clinics Vice President of Latino Services Dr. Luis Garcia, Doug Lunn, and Patty Amato.

“Last week, Congress took the first step in repealing the Affordable Care Act by passing the catastrophic budget resolution,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard.  “More deeply troubling is the lack of a plan to replace it.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act is wholly irresponsible, reckless, and outright dangerous because over 20 million Americans will lose their health coverage.  We have chosen Martin Luther King Jr. Day to highlight the injustice of repealing the Affordable Care Act because Dr. King devoted his life to fighting against injustice.”

“Last week in Congress, I introduced an amendment to the Republican’s Budget Resolution which clarifies that repealing the Affordable Care Act would be dangerous and irresponsible,” said Rep. Barragán.  “Even several Congressional Republicans have pointed out, the reality of taking away health care from millions of Americans with no replacement plan would be disastrous.”

“My colleagues working to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Washington are out of step and out of touch with the people they are elected to serve.  First, the ACA has provided good quality jobs, 63,000 of which will be lost in California alone, even with partial repeal.  More importantly, the ACA has saved the lives of real people.  Today’s handful of stories has been repeated countless times across the nation.  Real people with real lives will die without this transformative legislation,” said Rep. Bass. “This isn’t politics, it’s a matter of life and death for millions of Americans.”

“Every American has a stake in the fight against the effort to repeal our nation’s health care laws,” said Rep. Brownley.  “Every American with a pre-existing condition, or a family member with one, every parent, every woman, every senior, and anyone with insurance through their employer will be impacted.  Praying for good health for you and your family cannot be the foundation of our healthcare system.”

“In California, 5 million mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, owe their health security to the ACA,” said Rep. Lieu.  “Every one of these five million Californians carry a powerful personal story of how their lives have been improved and in many cases saved because of current law.  I recently heard from a woman in my district, a 2-time cancer survivor, that the ACA keeps her family out of bankruptcy since the law eliminates annual and lifetime coverage maximums, meaning they can afford the health care they desperately need.  Repealing the ACA without a better alternative plan would destroy families such as this.”

“Today we recognize some of the local faces of Obamacare, representing more than 48 million across the country now covered by mental health parity laws,” said Rep. Napolitano.  “I am proud of the hard work our local mental health consortium did to include these provisions, which have expanded access to lifesaving services for LA County residents and all Americans. Obamacare has reduced stigma and led to higher numbers seeking treatment for mental health needs.  We must work together to strengthen these protections and move mental health forward, not back.”

“Since before passage of the law, there has been a lot of misinformation spread about the Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Sánchez.  “The reality is 156 million Americans, including approximately 18 million Californians, who currently get their health insurance through their employer will suffer the consequences of repeal.  Many of the worst insurance company practices, such as lifetime caps and denials for pre-existing conditions, would make a comeback.  I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues in opposing repeal and standing up for the well being of California’s working families.”

“Nowhere is it more clear that Obamacare is working than right here in California, and it is our state that has the most to lose if it is repealed,” said Rep. Torres.  “Getting rid of Obamacare means that 4.6 million Californians are at risk of losing their coverage, and our state will lose $20 billion in federal funding that has improved the quality of healthcare for all Californians.  It is time Republicans put their political interests aside and get to work to make sure healthcare is affordable and accessible for all Americans.”

“Our economy is at stake,” said Ms. McCarthy.  “In LA, $5.8 billion in our GDP is tied up with the Affordable Care Act.  In California, that’s $20.3 billion.  These investments aren’t just into the direct provision of health care, it’s also into the communities that are touched by it.”

“In the bad old days before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies wouldn’t sell individual plans to people who had pre-existing conditions like mine,” said Ms. Hammers, who received lifesaving treatment for ovarian cancer under the ACA.  “Before the ACA, policies had lifetime caps that limited how much insurance companies paid.  If the cost of care exceeded those limits – and cancer treatment is exorbitant – no more coverage, no more care.  The Affordable Care Act is my lifeline.  Without it, what will happen to me?”

“Many kids here, many kids outside, in LA County and the State of California and the country, they have depression,” said Dr. Garcia, a noted expert on Latino mental health.  “They are thinking of committing suicide, and we don’t talk about it.  ACA benefited all these families and their children.”

Doug Lunn delivers a testimonial supporting the ACA during the event. Photo by Keyang Pang
Doug Lunn delivers a testimonial supporting the ACA during the event. Photo by Keyang Pang

“This is just essential care.  I wouldn’t be here talking if I didn’t have this care,” said Mr. Lunn, who is self-employed, was diagnosed twenty years ago with Type II diabetes which he had to leave untreated until Obamacare, and then was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago.  “It’s been extraordinary, life-changing help for me.  I can’t imagine what I would do without it.  I’m so glad everyone’s here today for this issue, because on a personal level, my survival is dependent upon it, and I think it’s essential that we take care of this.”

Ms. Amato, who signed up for Covered California after her husband died, because her family was no longer covered under her husband’s insurance through work, said, “My husband and I were responsible.  All three of us worked, including my son, were careful with our money, and did not make bad life choices.  Yet I still found myself in need of the Affordable Care Act.  For any of us, life can change in an instant.  I ask you please to keep the Affordable Care Act, for my family and other Americans like us.”


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