Iowans Gather to Discuss How to Protect Affordable Care Act

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DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa lawmakers and activists gathered in Des Moines Sunday to talk a defense strategy for the Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are eyeing a repeal of the law, though their plans for a replacement remain unclear.

"If this is repealed without replacement, first off, we'll have a lot of people without health coverage, or mental health coverage," said Iowa Representative Marti Anderson (D-Des Moines). "And we'll lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 26,000 jobs."

Anderson is helping lead the charge in Iowa to keep the ACA in place. She hopes with enough voices, the White House will tone down its plans to dismantle the healthcare system.

"I'd prefer that they not repeal it; I don't know why they would repeal it when they could go in and make some changes that would improve the bill," she said. "I don't know why they would throw out the whole thing."

Iowans who have first-hand experience with Obamacare spoke at Sunday's event, as well. Ruth Thompson of Des Moines shared her daughter's story; shortly after enrolling in the system, her daughter was hit with an illness that required a costly surgery. Without being fast-tracked into the system, Thompson says her daughter would have been stuck with a $78,000 bill.

"I was a huge proponent of the Affordable Care Act, but I'm the first to admit that it's not perfect," Thompson said. "And I would challenge them to make good on their word to improve it - make something better before they take away what we've got."

While these Iowans would prefer the ACA not be dismantled at all, they're prepared for a repeal - they're just asking lawmakers to ensure a replacement is on the table when that happens.

"We cannot not have it," Anderson said.