NAPLES, Fla. -- Members of the Southwest Florida Justice4all Coalition rallied against the Senate's version of the Obamacare replacement bill in Naples, Sunday.
The group gathered near the intersection of Golden Gate Boulevard and Airport Pulling Road from the morning until the afternoon to speak out against the proposed bill, which was released on Thursday after weeks of drafting behind closed doors.
Participants held signs and chanted to draw attention from drivers stopped at red lights. They handed out flyers and brochures of information on how to contact Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, to urge them to vote against the bill. "Poor people or middle class people may get a $250.00 tax break, and feel, 'well I got something,' but in the meantime, they're not going to be able to afford insurance anymore," said group co-founder Cynthia Odierna about the proposed plan.
She is particularly concerned about how the plan would affect those with pre-existing conditions. Although the bill does not allow for insurance companies to deny people coverage based on their health, it would allow for states to obtain 'waivers' that let them determine what they consider "essential health benefits."
Under the ACA, things like mental health care, maternity care or prescription drug coverage are essential health benefits. However, under the proposed plan, if your state does not consider a certain benefit essential, you may have to pay more to get that benefit added to your coverage. "If you're going to repeal Obamacare, make it better. Obamacare was faulty, but at least people for the first time had health insurance," said Odierna. "They're going to throw millions of people off the insurance rolls."
A vote on the bill could come as soon as July 4th.