Rally in Salt Lake City calls on senators to vote against American Health Care Act

SALT LAKE CITY -- Dozens gathered in Downtown Salt Lake City Thursday night to urge Utah’s U.S. Senators to vote against the American Health Care Act after it passed the U.S. House earlier in the day.

Some said the bill would leave them without health insurance.

The rally, spearheaded by the Healthcare Rights Coalition and Utah Indivisible, featured speakers, chanting and cheering, as the group spread a message of disappointment and anger.

“We're mourning,” said Stacy Stanford, with the Healthcare Rights Coalition. “We're sad about those whose lives are at risk.”

She said she received messages from people who wondered how the new health care bill could affect them.

“Terrified people with severe disabilities and chronic illnesses,” she said. “I woke up to messages, ‘OK, so when do I lose my health care?’”

Kristen Wolfe is someone who is wondering about that. She said she has lupus, an autoimmune disease.

“I go to the doctor every week, I get transfusions monthly,” Wolfe said.

Right now, she said she’s covered under the Affordable Care Act.

“At times when it is worse, I can't work,” she said.

The health care graduate student and nurse said when her illness prevents her from working for long periods of time, she can depend on her insurance with the ACA to keep her covered.

“I have insurance no matter what my employment status or student status is,” Wolfe said.

But, she said that could change under the American Health Care Act—especially because she said her pre-existing medical condition is difficult to get coverage for.

“If I lose my coverage, then I'm not able to afford my care,” she said. “My health is going to decline.”

As the crowd called out to lawmakers, they made it clear they don’t want this new bill—they want Obamacare to stay.

“The Affordable Care Act is such an important piece of legislation,” Draper resident Steve Drummond said. “It helps so many people.”