U.S. medical students, faculty rally to try to save Obamacare

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By Bob Chiarito | CHICAGO

CHICAGO Hundreds of medical students and faculty
members gathered at Northwestern University’s school of medicine
in Chicago on Monday to voice their opposition to the
dismantling of Obamacare.

The demonstration was part of a larger White Coats for
Coverage effort organized by medical students across the country
and came a day before the annual deadline to enroll in the
Affordable Care Act (ACA), former President Barack Obama’s
healthcare law.

“The ACA is not perfect, but pulling the rug out from under
the feet of our most vulnerable patients is not the answer,” Dr.
Bruce Henshaw, a faculty member at Northwestern’s Feinberg
School of Medicine, told the group of around 600 people.

“We will not stand idly by as our patients lose their
rights. We will not stop today. We will write and call our
representatives to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

Students organized the event. Northwestern University
spokeswoman Marla Paul said the school had no official position
on the issue.

Photos on social media showed students rallying at numerous
universities and cities.

“Proud to join my Yale colleagues to collectively say
#protectourpatients. Improve the ACA, DON’T repeal it,” Ryan
Murphy, who shared photos of a rally at Yale University, said on
Twitter.

Republican President Donald Trump’s first executive order,
signed hours after taking office, directed the federal
government to scale back regulations, taxes and penalties under
the ACA.

Republican Representative Tom Price, Trump’s nominee to lead
the Department of Health and Human Services, has said an
overhaul of Obamacare will initially focus on individual health
plans sold through online exchanges and the Medicaid health
insurance program for low-income Americans.

Trump has said he wants to keep some elements of the
program, such as allowing young adults to be covered under their
parents’ insurance. He favors plans that use health savings
accounts and sale of insurance across state lines.

More than 8.8 million Americans were signed up for 2017
coverage under the ACA through HealthCare.gov as of Jan. 14,
according to the site, up from around 8.7 million sign-ups as of
Jan. 14 last year.

Arturo Salow, a second year student at Northwestern from
Miami, Florida, urged people to sign up for ACA coverage before
Tuesday’s deadline, saying more enrollees would make a rollback
more challenging for Republicans.

“I’d advise any patient to sign up immediately,” Salow said. “If they are going to take away coverage, let’s make it as
difficult as possible.”



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