Hundreds rally to save Affordable Care Act in Collier County

Posted at 10:00 PM, Feb 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-25 22:50:19-05

Over 200 Democrats and supporters of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, rallied at the corner of U.S. 41 and Airport-Pulling Road Saturday morning, in response to President Donald Trump's efforts to repeal it.

Cyndy Nayer, a Naples health care activist, said Obamacare should be improved instead of repealed.

"The easiest way to call is Medicare for all, where there's a series of plans that people can choose from, and no one is denied coverage," Nayer said. 

Several dozen Trump supporters showed up at the rally to counter-protest.

"I don't think they understand what's really going on," said Joann Debartolo, who chaired campaign efforts for Trump in Collier County. "Some of them don't even know what they're protesting for."

While hundreds of protesters against Trump held signs along U.S. 41, urging support for government health care, Trump supporters held signs of their own encouraging support for the president.

Meanwhile, a few protesters from both sides put down their signs for a few minutes to exchange their views. Manson Hall believes that Obamacare has worked fine for many people who otherwise wouldn't have health coverage.

"It seems that the supporters of Trump want to replace it entirely, and that worries me," Hall said during a discussion with Trump supporters.

"When government gets too heavily involved, things go downhill," responded Robert Rappaport of Naples. "I think we should have a more privatized system."

Some Democrats were also critical of U.S. Representative Francis Rooney, complaining that he has yet to hold a town hall meeting in his district.

"We had tried to get Mr. Rooney to come, but he said it wasn't on his schedule," Nayer said.

"They've been in office not even 90 days now, and we need to give these guys a chance," Debartolo said. "(Rooney) has been working very hard. He's been working on the water issue."

Rooney's office said he is planning two town hall meetings on Friday, March 3: one in Naples, the other in Cape Coral. The locations are still being finalized.