CWA members and health care advocates are standing up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by taking the fight to save health care to the district offices of Republican Congress members across New Jersey. Every Wednesday, CWA along with partner organizations in the NJ for Health Care coalition are coordinating candlelight vigils outside the district offices of New Jersey’s five Republican Congressmen to generate grassroots pressure on them to oppose the repeal of the ACA without replacement.
Vigils kicked off after the National Day of Action to Save Health Care in January and have grown week to week, with nearly 2,000 people joining the demonstrations across New Jersey to date.
On February 1, over 150 protesters rallied outside the district office of Rep. Leonard Lance in Westfield, NJ. “The fact is that New Jersey has over 700,000 people who will lose their health care if the ACA is lost. And our hospitals, every hospital in New Jersey will be in danger if they just repeal without a replacement,” said CWA NJ Area Director Hetty Rosenstein in an interview with NJTV.
Members of CWA Locals 1038, 1039, 1040 and 1085 have been leading a presence at the office of Rep. Frank Lobindo in Mays Landing, NJ. “A repeal would cause more than 51,000 adults in the 2nd District to lose health care coverage”, said Mike Blaszczyk, President of CWA Local 1085. “Repealing without a replacement would be devastating.”
In addition, letters from the NJ for Health Care coalition were also delivered to each of the Congressmen expressing concern about the rollback of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid. Health care advocates are also calling for town hall meetings with residents to be convened in every district.
Many of the protections afforded under the ACA—including free preventative care including contraceptives, coverage for kids through age 26, no lifetime limits on insurance, and protections for those with pre-existing conditions— all are under threat. A report by NJ Policy Perspective shows outright repeal would take away health care coverage for nearly 800,000 New Jerseyans, and cause millions more to lose important protections that help them maintain their coverage and their health. Repealing the Medicaid expansion as part of rolling back the ACA would cause about 528,000 adult New Jerseyans to lose their health coverage according to estimates from New Jersey Policy Perspective.
CWA’s Welfare Council— a coalition of locals that represent members who help low-income residents across New Jersey get health insurance through the ACA every day— also launched a campaign to fight a repeal of the ACA and Medicaid expansion and have made dozens of calls to their members of Congress since January.
Beth Afflerbach-Ziegenfuss, a social worker in Gloucester County, said, “We just need to get it across about how important it is not to take people’s health coverage away.”
This Wednesday, hundreds more will bring the fight to protect health care by attending a candlelight vigil. To find a candle light vigil near you, visit: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5699/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=84954.