PORTLAND, Maine - Nearly 400 people packed a health care town hall Sunday in Portland, convened by Maine 1st District U.S. House Rep. Chellie Pingree, to weigh in on the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The House is expected to vote on the plan this week.
The proposed replacement would raise health care costs for older consumers, which Ed Saxby said would have dire consequences for him. Saxby said he has health insurance through the ACA marketplace and is being treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
"If the ACA is repealed without an adequate replacement, I will lose my access to health care,” Saxby said. “I will lose my access to care, and I will die."
Deborah Gary of Saco said she has insurance, but not through her employer. She wanted to know "how ‘TrumpCare’ will impact the premiums for somebody like myself, who doesn't get a subsidy through the ACA?"
Gary was told that according to a Congressional Budget Office report, under the GOP replacement, all premiums will go up on average by at least 20 percent.
Several, like Paul Cunningham of South Portland, suggested that the best way to improve U.S. health care is to scrap both the ACA and the GOP plan and institute Medicare-for all, or a single-payer system.
"I would much prefer to hear someone talk about introducing legislation now, when we have the opportunity, to push for single-payer,” Cunningham said. “I'd much rather hear about that than trying to save the ACA."
Pingree, a Democrat, opposes the GOP replacement plan, as do Maine’s two U.S. senators, Angus King, an independent, and Susan Collins, a Republican. Maine’s 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, says he is studying the proposal, but says he's encouraged by some provisions, such as the option for young adults to stay on their parents’ policies.