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Protest Heats Up As Lawmakers Prepare To Vote On Health Care Overhaul

 indivisible obamacare affordable care act health medical insurance insurer coverage medicaid mike turner trump trumpcare protest
WYSO/Jess Mador

As lawmakers in Washington prepare to vote on a Republican-backed bill to dismantle and replace the Affordable Care Act, more than 60 Affordable Care Act supporters protested Thursday in Moraine outside the Mandalay Banquet Center. It was the second Dayton-area health care protest in a week.

Organizers with the group Dayton Indivisible for All planned the rally to coincide with a county Republican Party fundraiser being held at the venue. Republican 10th District Congressman Mike Turner had originally been expected to appear at the event but was not able to attend.

The rally also fell on the federal health law's anniversary, which protesters marked by singing happy birthday and wearing party hats.

Among them was 47-year-old Karen Gardner from Moraine, who is calling on Turner and other Ohio lawmakers to preserve the Affordable Care Act. She credits her Medicaid-expansion coverage with helping her pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancer-related medical bills.

“And I had no income at the time because I was so sick. I went through hell. And if the ACA had not come through at that time, I would be dead today and if ACA is repealed, and I can’t get my medicines, I will be dead,” she says.

Gardner is among the approximately 700,000 low-income Ohioans with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision.

As the Associated Press reports, it's unclear whether GOP leaders have enough votes to prevail on final passage of the Republican health care overhaul. Lawmakers continue to wrangle over changes to the measure, including ones that would improve Medicaid benefits for some older and handicapped people and abolish coverage requirements President Barack Obama's 2010 law imposes on insurers.

Democrats remain overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal, while some Republicans complain it doesn't go far enough to do away with Obama's law. The AP reports GOP moderates are unhappy that the proposal would cause millions of voters to lose insurance coverage and boost medical costs for others.

Thursday's protest was organized by Dayton Indivisible for All, along with a coalition of other groups including The Resistance Ohio and Yellow Springs Political Action Committee.