Some Chattanooga residents are concerned about what their healthcare plans will look like if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
A group of ACA advocates took their questions to the offices of Senator Bob Corker and Senator Lamar Alexander, where they spoke to staff members about their fears.
Senators are scheduled to vote on the repeal in just a few weeks, on January 27th. But at this time, they haven't released any details about a replacement plan to help out the 20 million Americans now using the Affordable Care Act.
"We need to have a plan in place before the act is repealed," said retired nurse April Cook.
That's the message the group of Chattanooga residents hope law makers will hear. Volunteers for the National Alliance for Health Care Security and the Protect My Care Coalition took their questions to the local offices of Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander Wednesday.
"We represent a huge demographic of our local community," said Dr. Greg Harwood, "From business owners, to residents, to moms to grandparents." The group is urging the Senators to vote "no" on a repeal until there is a clear alternative for those depending on the Affordable Care Act.
"The ACA is not perfect. Everybody knows that," Cook said. But for the 526,000 Tennesseans currently insured by it, they want to know "what's next" if their healthcare is taken away.
"A lot of people, people like me, did not get diagnosed because of anything they did, you know at 10 years old you don't ask to almost have a heart attack it just happens," said Melody Shekari.
Shekari, a former congressional candidate, was diagnosed with a thyroid condition at age 10. Without coverage, she said she would have to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills a year.
"It requires lifelong care, medication and monitoring. It's not anything that prevents me from doing certain kinds of employment but it does mean I need doctor's visits, medication," she said.
But with a lot of questions still unanswered, it could mean putting her next goal of owning her own business on hold.
"Right now it might mean moving to another city and trying to find a job that will have insurance that will make sure that I'm covered," Shekari said.
Senators Corker and Alexander agree with the advocates, and want to push back the repeal deadline to March to give Senators more time to form a replacement plan. President-elect Trump said in a news conference Wednesday there will be a new plan in place soon after the repeal.
Chattanooga Police are investigating an early morning shooting that left one person dead on Roanoke Ave.
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
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