News 12

BRENTWOOD – Activists opposed to repealing the Affordable Care Act rallied in Brentwood Thursday to call on Long Island Republican Reps. Peter King and Lee Zeldin to take a stand against their party’s plan to replace the former president’s signature health care law.
Organizers had billed the event as a vigil, but it seemed more like a protest.
“Peter King, don’t you dare, take care away our health care,” about 40 activists chanted. “Health care is a human right. That is why we fight, fight, fight.”
The American Healthcare Act, backed by the White House and Republican leadership on Capitol Hill, has already passed a pair of committees.
At the same time it has taken hits from conservatives who have referred to the plan as “Obamacare-lite” because it doesn’t include a full repeal of the current policies.
Democrats say the plan will ultimately leave millions without coverage. Luis Valanzueala of the Healthcare Education Project, an advocacy organization, agrees.
“The way things are going, there’s going to be a lot of suffering on Long Island,” he says.
Some activists are also proposing that the state create its own single-payer health care plan. Steve Cecchini, from the group Long Island Activists, says that type of state legislation would shield New Yorkers from whatever decision is made at the federal level.
“This would do a better job than the ACA even if we still had the ACA,” he argues.
“What is Trumpcare? Trumpcare, simply put, is a mess that gives you less for more,” says Sen. Charles Schumer. “We Democrats are here today to tell our Republican friends, turn back. Drop this irresponsible plan.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered a PowerPoint presentation Thursday to tout the plan, including the way in which he says it will continue to provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
The measure would get rid of tax penalties for people who don’t buy health insurance.
As Ryan pushes out front, President Donald Trump met with congressional leaders behind the scenes. He tweeted today, “Despite what you hear in the press, healthcare is coming along great. We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!”
Rep. King released a statement saying that he has a number of concerns about the bill, including its proposed cuts to Medicaid. He is vowing to negotiate for Long Island’s best interests.