Abigail Hantke In a national day of action, hundreds gathered in downtown Eau Claire Sunday to raise their voice about keeping the Affordable Care Act.
Those who rallied are looking to stop the repeal of the measure created by the Obama administration, which has been in place since 2010.
The hands of hundreds were heard as they stood out in the cold to show their support for healthcare coverage from the ACA.
“I’m here because I think with all that's happening right now, people need to let their voices be heard,” said Colleen Bates of Eau Claire.
The goal on everyone's mind at the rally, to save the provisions of the law; as many say they're worried it will be repealed after president-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated this Friday.
More than 200 people stood outside the U.S. Federal Building on South Barstow Street, one of many held across the nation. Organizers at Sunday’s event say they’re trying to leave politics behind and keep the main focus on healthcare.
Jeff Smith, the lead organizer of Sunday’s event in Eau Claire for the Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative of Western Wisconsin, says the ACA is not something we can just throw away.
“Nobody has ever said that one law that's past, including the ACA, is the final answer to all of our problems; it's the beginning,” Smith said. “Instead of repealing and just throwing it away and calling it failed, when it’s really not, take the parts that need fixing and let’s fix it.”
So to fix it or to scrap it? Eau Claire County Republican Party Vice Chair Mike Conlin says it's an act not worth saving.
“It’s so unfair,” he said. “If you jump through the right hoops you get something; if you don't jump through the right hoops you don't get it, and I don't think that's right. Everyone should be able to afford healthcare. I think the republican approach of giving people a tax credit with which to buy the healthcare that they wish is the most fair idea that's come down the bike.”
Currently, around 30 million Americans are signed up for the affordable care act.
The House passed a bill last Friday that starts the repeal of the ACA. The measure passed 227 to 198, with no democrats supporting it and nine GOP members voting against it.