People protest potential repeal of Affordable Care Act along Highway 501 (Source: Amy Lipman)
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - People all over the country protested the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act Sunday in a national call for rallies from democratic leaders. People in Horry County ensured their opinions were heard as well.
Two days after the House voted in favor of the first step in repealing the Affordable Care Act, about 30 people held up signs and chanted along Highway 501 and Carolina Forest Boulevard from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
“I think that’s what we’re all concerned about. We hear talk we’re going to repeal, but then there’s not really anything to replace it with," said protest organizer Dave Fleck. "We want to see something to replace it that is good.”
Protestors said they appreciate what the Affordable Care Act has given to many people, including subsidies to offset the costs of monthly premiums and guaranteed health insurance to those with pre-existing conditions.
Fleck said he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in late 2015. He got insurance through the Affordable Care Act and had a successful operation to have a tumor removed, but he needs expensive treatments for another four years to prevent the cancer from coming back.
“I think it’s like $17,000 to 20,000 a year for these treatments. I don’t have that kind of money,” Fleck said. “There’s no way that I would be able to afford it because I have preexisting conditions. I wouldn’t have been able to have health care and then because the affordable care act makes it affordable for me, I’m able to have health insurance.”
Protestor Peggy Robinson had breast cancer 25 years ago. Now, she said she needs surgery to correct problems she’s having with implants from a double mastectomy.
“I’ve never been able to get insurance at all,” said Peggy Robinson. “When I was accepted last year on it, I want to be able to protect if for sure.”
Protestor Barbara Sloan said at one time she was spending up to 40 percent of her income on her healthcare costs and now she said she’s saving money. She said she developed post-traumatic stress disorder after her son died in a tragic car accident north of Conway about 20 years ago.
“I’m doing far better now, but in part because I’ve been able to get the psychiatric treatment that I needed and the medications that I needed. And as you may know, there are no real good medications for post-traumatic stress disorder, but it all helps,” Robinson said.
Protestor Cora Bogans has lost several members of her family to kidney disease. She said she has it, too, along with diabetes and high blood pressure. She said the Affordable Care Act drastically decreased her monthly payments.
“My insurance coverage went down to $268 a month. From $1,100 a month to $268, less than $300 dollars a month,” said Cora Bogans. “Prior to that, we had a financial hardship.”
A few hours prior to the Carolina Forest protest, more than 20 people had protested along 17 Bypass near Murrells Inlet near Tidelands Health.
These were grassroots events organized by people who had heard about the national call for rallies and felt passionately about spreading the word of retaining the Affordable Care Act.
Tidelands Health released the following statement:
Tidelands Health had no involvement in today’s event, and the event did not occur on our property. Fundamentally, Tidelands Health supports a health care delivery system that provides access to high-quality medical care for all citizens.