Roanoke Indivisible takes part in National Day of Action, meets with Senate offices

As part of the National Day of Action, Roanoke Indivisible met with staff from Senators Kaine and Warner's offices. (Photo: Annie Andersen)

ROANOKE, Va. (WSET) -- Kate Berding decided to thank her senators because she says she knows how hard it was for some people to get insurance before the Affordable Care Act.

"They said I had a preexisting condition, so I looked at my record and they told me I was mentally ill."

Berding says she was having trouble sleeping, so her doctor gave her a pill to help her sleep. She tried it, but didn't like it, so she stopped taking the pill. Later, she learned the pill was the reason her insurance agency said she was mentally ill.

After clearing that up, Berding says the insurance agency then claimed she had osteoporosis, to which she says "They were lying. I had already had a bone density as a baseline and I was perfectly healthy."

But while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's bill doesn't have enough support to pass, Congressman Bob Goodlatte's Office issued a statement about his conviction to replace the Affordable Care Act.

It said: "The House has already acted, and I urge the Senate to keep the process going and work towards a solution that will repeal Obamacare. Under this law, insurance premiums for Virginians have increased an average of 77 percent and it's estimated that 40 percent of counties in the United States will have only one insurance option next year. Obamacare has created real problems that are affecting families across the country, and maintaining the status quo is not an option. We must increase access to care and choice and deliver affordable health insurance options."

Roanoke indivisible members worry what will happen if the ACA is repealed. Ivonne Wallace Fuentes said, "This is no longer a symbolic vote. That if they vote this way, it means people lost healthcare access and people die.

Tuesday morning, Senator Tim Kaine took to the Senate floor voicing support for fixing, not repealing, the Affordable Care Act. "Since 2010 the rate of uninsured Americans has declined to a historic low. More than 20 million people have access to health insurance coverage, many for the first time in their life, said Kaine.

Kaine added, rather than a full repeal, the Senate should work to fix the problems of the Affordable Care Act, saying “There is a way forward. I’m here to just briefly reference a bill that Senator Carper and I put on the table that we think will do a good job and should have strong bipartisan support. One of the ways to address uncertainty in the individual market is to establish a permanent reinsurance program that will stabilize premiums, that will give insurance companies some stability so they can stay in markets, but also enable those companies to write premiums at an average level and not worry about the high-cost claims. We think it could reduce premiums dramatically all over the country.”

Senator Mark Warner's spokesperson Rachel Cohen echoed that sentiment, saying "Senator Warner has consistently spoken out in opposition to any repeal plan that would kick millions of people off of their insurance, slash Medicaid, and raise health care costs for the sick and the elderly."

Wallace Fuentes says that's something she and the other members of Roanoke Indivisible won't allow to happen either. "This is literally legislation that holds the health of our friends and neighbors in its hands. Of course we're going to rally," she said.

Cohen says that's something lawmakers are taking notice of, saying "Senator Warner is appreciative and grateful for this group, and all other Virginians, who have been vocal and visible in opposition to the effort to repeal Obamacare."

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