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Jan 16, 2017 12:27 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Dozens Rally To Save Health Care During Sunday Protest In Southampton

About 40 people gathered in front of Stony Brook Southampton to protest the Affordable Care Act being repealed in the federal government. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Jan 16, 2017 12:32 PM

The air was a crisp 35 degrees on Sunday afternoon, but that didn’t stop dozens of people from showing up for an impromptu protest outside the Stony Brook Southampton campus in Shinnecock Hills for a rally to protect the endangered Affordable Care Act.

Lined along Montauk Highway, the protesters chanted “No Repeal Without A Plan” as they waved handmade signs asking politicians to keep the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, a national health care law commonly referred to as Obamacare, which was approved by the federal government in 2010 during Barack Obama’s first term.

When the law was enacted, roughly 939,000 New Yorkers who were previously uninsured gained health insurance coverage, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, millions more New Yorkers with employer, Medicaid, individual market or Medicare coverage also benefited from new protections as a result of the law.

Sunday’s protesters, who are part of a local group called East End Resistors, hit the pavement to express their concerns about what will happen if President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress—the GOP has targeted the national health care program since its inception—follow through on a promise to repeal the ACA.

Kathryn Szoka of Sag Harbor, who was waving a sign that read “Medicare For All,” explained that the demonstration was part of a nationwide rally to protect the plan. The rallies were pushed by Democratic leaders, including former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Similar protests were held in cities across the nation—including Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and Boston.

“It’s important to know that this is not about resistance,” said Ms. Szoka, who was a leader of Bernie East End Supporters during the presidential campaign. “It’s about advocacy—we can make things happen.”

The rally was pulled together in less than a week to coincide with the national protest. Several of the protesters on Sunday pointed out that they have left messages about their concerns with local politicians, including U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican.

Phyllis Italiano of East Hampton, who held a sign that read “Health Care = Life Or Death,” said she was rallying because she fears what would take the place of ACA if it were repealed.

“I’m here because I have a daughter who is [covered by] the Affordable Care Act and I am concerned about what will be put in its place,” Ms. Italiano said. “It took America so long to get [universal] health care compared to other parts of the world, and to lose it would be a shame. It’s more than a shame actually—it’s a tragedy.”

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Affordable? Have heard of outrageous rates put on by insurance companies and if you don't have it, you get fined.
Stop stealing from Medicare and Social Security to pay for all these FREE projects.
By knitter (1604), Southampton on Jan 16, 17 12:50 PM
while some people have wonderfully subsidized health insurance many people can't afford to even use it because of huge deductibles or insurance that no local doctor takes. Deductibles so high they may as well go without insurance and just pay for doctor visits. And those patients that are sick and use the insurance have high copays and constant denials for medications and radiology. Repeal the fine... let healthy people opt for catastrophic insurance and just pay for the yearly office visits.If ...more
By squeaky (289), hampton bays on Jan 16, 17 3:26 PM
Those of us who would love to protest against Obamacare cannot, because we had to take second jobs just to afford our skyrocketing premiums with our employer plans. Ours are the stories you won't read in Mother Jones.
By Babyboo (257), Hampton Bays on Jan 16, 17 6:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
Can't wait until Friday's inauguration when common sense once again takes control of our country. Good riddance Obama and all the socialism you and the Democratic Party saddled us with for the past eight years.
By BillWillConn3 (170), Southampton on Jan 16, 17 9:17 PM
Bravo to these people who are coming out in the cold to stand up for their fellow Americans' right to healthcare. The ACA may not be perfect, but it was, at last, a way that the less fortunate among us were assured coverage. It helped millions, and like it or not, prevented a catastrophic illness from bankrupting many. Repeal without a plan (a GOOD plan) is all they are saying. A bi-partisan effort to fix healthcare would be the best option after single payer. Lee Zeldin should take heed instead ...more
By Earthgirl (52), Southampton on Jan 17, 17 3:19 AM
The Republicans have had SIX years to come up with a better alternative. Max Baucus and the "Gang of Six" were the GOP members who insisted on the individual mandate. Democrats wanted single payer.

Republicans don't have a better idea, because they screwed up the ACA in the first place. The Democrats passed it, because it was the best chance in twenty years to have any type of legislation on the books. The ACA should have gotten the ball rolling toward positive change, but instead the ...more
By Mr. Z (10907), North Sea on Jan 17, 17 3:51 AM
That's the Mother of revisionist history and (bad) legislation simply for the sake of legislation is unacceptable. Critics of the gang of six (mostly democrats since they had the votes to pass Obamacare) would suggest that six individuals (3 dem and 3 republican) with a combined representation of 2.74 percent of the United States as a whole shouldn't be deciding health care for 300 million people. Other critics (mostly republican) would now say that positive change is on the way.
By Mr. Snerdley (392), Southampton on Jan 17, 17 11:13 AM
No revision at all.

The alleged unconstitutional mandate was a GOP contribution by modeling what they wanted using the Nineties opposition to "Clintoncare". The Democrats attempts to reach across the aisle were snubbed by the bratty "Gang of Six" and their leaders from on high.

If they were not a lot of petulant toddlers, things would be better.
Jan 17, 17 2:35 PM appended by Mr. Z
"bratty half of the 'Gang of Six' "
By Mr. Z (10907), North Sea on Jan 17, 17 2:35 PM
The revisionism continues. Where did the GOP ever call a tax a penalty or vice versa in the 90's opposition to Clintoncare? That was the core of the unconstitutionality allegations of Obamacare.

"Democrats attempt to reach across the aisle", LMAO... Democrats used every trick in the book to pass Obamacare to include the abnormal use of a bill designated as a reconciliation bill which then passed both the Democrat House and Senate on an entirely party-line vote. Some reaching across the ...more
By Mr. Snerdley (392), Southampton on Jan 17, 17 10:53 PM
Maybe you should learn about the genesis of HEART. John Chaffee's and company's proposal included an individual mandate, which the GOP insisted upon when debating the ACA. A bipartisan effort in the hopes Republicans would support the ACA was the reason it was included instead of single payer like the Democrats wanted. It's called compromise.

You really don't know jack, do you?
Jan 17, 17 11:19 PM appended by Mr. Z
HEART bore a quite striking resemblance to the ACA.
By Mr. Z (10907), North Sea on Jan 17, 17 11:19 PM
Anyone who looks at this with any care will see that the ACA accomplished a great deal, despite its admitted shortcomings. Most of its opponents are simply unable to accept anything that comes from a decidedly progressive president whom they dislike personally. As our soon-to-be president would tweet -- Sad!
By Turkey Bridge (1906), Quiogue on Jan 17, 17 9:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
See how much you like not having pre existing conditions or your kids over 18 covered. See what happens with vouchers and privatizing social security. Sounds great.
By rv (30), watermill on Jan 17, 17 10:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
Ms. Italiano is incorrect and mis-informed : "... It took America so long to get [universal] health care compared to other parts of the world...". The ACA (aka Obamacare) is NOT universal health care. Millions remain uncovered and most of those covered cannot afford the premiums and deductibles; hence, we can't even afford to use the paltry coverage we have. Every other civilized nation has universal, single payer health care. We don't have it because virtually all politicians - Democrats, Republicans ...more
By oneseriousSicilian (56), medford on Jan 19, 17 1:19 PM
How about this: we already pay for healthcare -- through our local property taxes we pay for healthcare for teachers, administrators, maintenance crews and police and local town employees.

Through the county sales tax -- Suffolk county employees, and through our Federal taxes, our elected official in Washington D.C., Lee Zeldin -- what does their healthcare cost? I guess I could FOIL it but it would be nice to have them just tell me since I'm already paying for it, and it would be ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 22, 17 8:20 AM
From the Center for Disease Control, Healthcare Statistics:

Per capita national health expenditures: $9,523 (2014)
Total national health expenditures: $3.0 trillion (2014)
Total national health expenditures as a percent of Gross Domestic Product: 17.5% (2014)

Of every $10 spent on healthcare in the U.S., almost 90 cents is due to smoking, a new analysis says.

Using recent health and medical spending surveys, researchers calculated that 8.7 percent of all healthcare ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 22, 17 8:23 AM