WILKES-BARRE — “Don’t take my health care.”
That was the message on one of many hand-held signs seen Saturday outside the Luzerne County Courthouse at a rally in support of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid.
It was also the theme of the rally, organized by the social advocacy group Action Together of Northeastern PA.
About 100 people chanted, carried signs and applauded speakers who implored President Donald Trump and federal lawmakers not to eliminate social programs that help the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
The crowd covered all age groups from teens through seniors.
Mardy and Glenda Shepherd traveled to the rally from their Dallas home to show support for those less fortunate. They said they do not need ACA, also known as “Obamacare,” for health insurance, but that millions of people rely on it.
Glenda Shepherd said she was there to support ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, Planned Parenthood and the free press.
The Shepherds, originally from Georgia, moved to Luzerne County four years ago to become “professional grandparents,” Mardy Shepherd said.
When asked if he worried whether his grandchildren would always have access to affordable health care, he replied: “I worry about it for everyone.”
Colton Miletti, a 20-year-old from West Pittston, said his concerns about the nation’s 45th president go beyond health care. He said he worries about the direction the United States could be headed under Trump’s leadership.
“I don’t want to see our country take the path that Nazi Germany took,” he said.
Heather Haupt, of Greentown, Pike County, had personal reasons to support ACA.
Her 19-year-old son lives at home and is only able to get health insurance through “Obamacare,” she said.
As dark clouds gathered and winds grew gusty shortly before a fierce storm hit the region, several speakers preached the need to protect the programs that help millions of Americans.
“A basic right is under attack: the right to affordable health care,” said Bob Morgan, district director for U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic.
Pamela Zotynia said that both she and her son, who has cerebral palsy and other serious conditions, might become ineligible for health care if ACA is repealed.
“We must make our legislators know,” said Zotynia, executive director of the ARC of Luzerne County, an organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“It’s not just the ACA under attack,” she said. “It’s our entire health care safety net.”
Crowd rallies for health care – News