By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Other controversies and crises may have knocked the continuing fight over the Affordable Care Act out of the headlines, but for some citizens it is not a dead issue: it is an issue of life or death issue.
About a dozen protestors gathered at Wooster Green in Bowling Green Thursday late afternoon to send a message to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.
The gathering was organized by several liberal groups – For Ohio’s Future Action Fund, Indivisible OH5, and MoveOn.org.
“This demonstration is to remind people that this fight to protect the ACA is not over,” said Jeremy Bernstein, from For Ohio’s Future Action Fund. Public health care is a “great, great value” for children, elderly and disabled.
Dennis Slotnick, another organizer, said the protest was meant as a reproach to Portman, whom the group had earlier praised for voting against the House version of repeal and replace.
Then when the issue came before the Senate again, he voted for the so-called Obamacare-light proposal.
Slotnick said he felt Portman still “has it in him” to continue to support health care for the public. “But he has to be disciplined in some ways by his constituents.” he said.
The group planned to send a letter with a photo of the protest.
Several of them spoke of their own experiences with the Affordable Care Act.
For Melissa Kritzell, Findlay, having the coverage under the ACA when she was being treated for ovarian cancer saved her life.
She traveled to Washington D.C., she said, to tell Portman her story to Portman, but “they’re not listening to us.”
“Rob Portman equivocated for a long time,” Anesa Miller, of Bowling Green, said. “He showed a lot of signs that he was going protect the ACA, going to protect the people of Ohio, especially the opioid addicts of Ohio and then he voted against us, and I don’t want him to think we failed to notice that or have so quickly forgotten.”
She also said: “I don’t think he’s spoken against Mr. Trump’s statement that we’ll let the system implode.”
Amanda Schackow, of Weston, said she’s concerned that now those parts of the ACA that need to be improved will not be addressed.
Bernstein said he was concerned that the Republicans would act “quietly and quickly … to continue their assault on health care for millions of people.”
He also had difficulties getting health insurance because of pre-existing conditions until Obamacare went into effect.
Beth Powder, Toledo, shared her story with the group. She had 20 tumors in her uterus. But she was unable to get any health coverage, so she ended up treating it with natural medicine and acupuncture because “I couldn’t get a doctor who could take an image of what was inside of me and tell me if it was cancer.”
When she moved to Ohio it took her five tries but she got on Medicaid and received treatment including a hysterectomy. Because it wasn’t cancer, she said, some people downplayed what she endured, which is typical she said of how many approach women’s health issues.