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“Care Force One” Makes Stop in Cleveland on National Bus Tour

(Cleveland, Ohio) – Today, Betsy Rader and Cleveland City Council Members Blaine Griffin and Phyllis Cleveland joined Dr. Maria Phillis and Ohoioans with pre-existing conditions in Public Square to speak out against the devastating repercussions of health care repeal.

The event was part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour calling attention to Republicans’ attempts to sabotage health care, including a lawsuit that would gut protections for Ohioans with pre-existing conditions.

The 4,830,900 Ohioans living with a pre-existing condition would be in jeopardy if a judge sides with President Trump and the GOP in their lawsuit.

Cancer survivor Laura Packard kicked off the event, saying, “I am still here today thanks to the Affordable Care Act. But I need to keep my health care, as do 130 million with pre-existing conditions. That’s why we’re here – to hold people like Senator Portman accountable for their votes to take away our care.”

“Republicans in Congress have waged a war on those in our community who live with pre-existing conditions, undermining their access to health care nearly every opportunity they had,” Betsy Rader said. “It’s critical that we all stand up, take action, and fight for affordable healthcare.”

“Republicans in Washington and the Ohio Statehouse aren’t sticking up for health care protections or working with Democrats to lower costs. Instead, they are ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions, driving up costs, and cutting coverage,” Councilmember Blaine Griffin said.

“Since day one of the Trump Administration, the agenda has been to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act,” echoed Councilmember Phyllis Cleveland. “I am proud to stand here to say we here in Ohio and Cleveland have a strong contingent of individuals who care about people and their health care, so we will continue to fight.”

They were joined by Kat Schultz and Maya Brown-Zimmerman, Ohioans living with pre-existing conditions, and Dr. Maria Phillis, who shared their stories and talked about the importance of the Affordable Care Act.

Ohioan Kat Schultz, who has chronic mental and physical illness, said, “I am one of the 4.8 million Ohioans who have a pre-existing condition. I’m deeply concerned that if protections for pre-existing conditions end, I’d be denied health insurance and unable to afford the treatments that keep my alive. Please protect my care, and protect my life.”

“I went into medicine to help patients. As a physician, I’ve seen people who have benefited from good health care. To watch the ACA slowly become dismantled, piece by piece by politicians that are putting politics over patients, is heart-wrenching,” said Dr. Maria Phillis, OB-GYN.

“I was born with a rare genetic disorder. One of my children inherited it, another is autistic, and another has a brain injury from in-utero,” said local resident Maya Brown-Zimmerman. “Protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is a human issue.”

“The stakes have never been higher for Ohioans’ health care,” said TJ Helmstetter of Protect Our Care. “Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, almost 664,000 Ohioans have gained health insurance. This is all in jeopardy due to Republicans’ repeal and sabotage agenda, including their ludicrous lawsuit and Rep. Balderson’s mission to repeal health care. Ohioans want this Republican war on health care to end, plain and simple. That’s why we’re here today.”

You can watch the full video here. The bus now travels to Columbus then on to West Virginia before coming back to Cincinnati for an event on Tuesday. More details about upcoming stops can be found here.