Hundreds rally in Orlando to save Obamacare

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PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Several years ago, Sean-Paul Lewis says, the Affordable Care Act saved his life. Last weekend, tucked into a wheelchair with a breathing tube in his nose, he rallied to save the law that extended his time.

Lewis, of Longwood, says he's been on a long path recovering from serious physical crises that have required many doctor visits and thousands of dollars in medication. Until last year, he was on Obamacare, but after turning 65, he's been placed on Medicare.

"The Republican plan is hurry up and die," he says. "That is the antithesis of the way I was raised, of what it means to be an American. … My days are numbered. These should be my golden years. I have 4-year-old twin grandsons who are the sweetest expansion of my life that I've ever experienced except for meeting my wife. I'm just trying to just live a good quality of life."
PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Lewis was one of about 300 people who marched and rallied near Florida Hospital Orlando on Saturday as part of a nationwide effort to support the health care law after President Donald Trump and Republican leaders vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act because it is "failing." Several state lawmakers appeared at the Orlando rally, including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

"Isn't it kind of pitiful that we have to stand up for basic health care?" Nelson asked the crowd.
PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Marilyn Jenquin says her story wouldn't exist if the Affordable Care Act were passed 13 years ago. During that time, Jenquin was taking care of her parents with Alzheimer's disease and running her own business that provided her health insurance. After her mom died, she sold her business and tried to get health insurance on her own. She says she was denied coverage because she had untreatable high blood pressure and no other known diseases. After her father died, she learned she had breast cancer.

"I learned going through breast cancer when uninsured that there is no safety net," she says. "Here I am now, 10 years a survivor. Needless to say, I don't have $250,000 in stocks and my home now has a 22-year mortgage, which will be paid approximately when I'm 90 years old."

Jenquin told the crowd she was not being paid to tell her story. Republican leaders have accused angry constituents at town hall meetings regarding Obamacare of being "paid protesters."

"I had done everything right, followed all of society's rules and should have lived out my life a little old lady out in my garden, planting daisies," she said. "I don't just believe that the Affordable Care Act saves lives. It saves the quality of lives."

PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro



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