On the ground activism: Hundreds march in Chicago to protest against GOP health care bill

"This bill puts at risk health care for over a million people, billions of dollars for Illinois and tens of thousands of jobs."

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Woman holds up a sign that satirizes Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s relationship to rich during a rally at Federal Plaza in support of the Affordable Care Act, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago. Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

As the Republican Party tears itself apart in Washington, trying to figure out the best way to end Obamacare, citizens of Illinois are scrambling to figure out their future.

Dozens chant, “Healthcare is a human right, not just for the rich and white,” during a rally at Federal Plaza in support of the Affordable Care Act, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago. Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

It wasn’t just the unfortunately named ‘suckers’ that were concerned about motions on the Hill this week. Millions of Americans let out a sigh of relief as a minor victory was achieved in the fight to keep the Affordable Care Act as House Republicans pulled their own bill off the floor and delayed the vote that was scheduled Thursday after Republican support dwindled.

Hundreds rally in Federal Plaza in support of the Affordable Care Act, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago. Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

For those living in Chicago, the news couldn’t come soon enough. Hundreds rallied and marched in support of the ACA and against the Republican plan that could leave as many as 24 million people without insurance in the decades to come.

Hundreds march on the sidewalk down Dearborn Street towards Trump Tower protesting republicans attempt to repeal the ACA, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago. Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle explained how the repeal of the ACA would be a “disaster for Cook County,” which is one of the largest healthcare providers in the nation.

Cars pass by and blare their horns in support as a woman with a sign that read’s “Honk For the ACA” stand by the road as hundreds march by, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago. Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

“Their plan will deny health care coverage to 24 million Americans in the next decade. Their plan will make seniors pay higher premiums, their plan will force our friends and neighbors back to the emergency rooms to see a doctor. Their plan will defund planned parenthood which will have an especially difficult impact on low-income women,” said Preckwinkle.

While marching to Trump Tower protesters pause on Wacker Drive holding up all lanes of traffic, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago.
Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

Tina Tyson, a local Illinois woman spoke about her fear of losing health insurance.

“Eight years ago my health took a swift and dramatic turn that made me very afraid the diagnosis and treatment of the illness that has taken almost eight years of my life and has put me through the nightmare of testing procedures and multiple surgeries including one for a brain tumor last year which awarded me with a membership to the preexisting condition club,” said Tyson who continues, “because the ACA protection having preexisting condition no longer meant ‘you can’t health insurance’ because you need it too much…but the possibility [of not having insurance] is becoming very real.”

Hundreds march on the sidewalk on Wacker Drive towards Trump Tower protesting republicans attempt to repeal the ACA, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago.
Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

Tyson was so worried about her coverage she decided to try to speak to her congressmen, Peter Roskam, by paying to attend a luncheon at the City Club of Chicago to speak to him on is own terms. None of her concerns or those of Roskam’s other constituents that attended were addressed.

Activists conclude their protest by rallying in front of Trump Tower demanding a stop to the repeal of the ACA, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago. Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

Roskam isn’t the only Illinois Republican avoiding the health care question. Illinois’ own governor Bruce Rauner has been “eerily silent” regarding the repeal of the ACA, despite vocal opposition from Republican governors like Charlie Baker of Massachusetts or John Kasich of Ohio.

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss has his own theory as to why Rauner and many others are silent on the ACA debate.

Image credit: Activists conclude their protest by rallying in front of Trump Tower demanding a stop to the repeal of the ACA, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago. Image credit: Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

“No only does this bill put at risk health care for over a million people, billions of dollars for Illinois and tens of thousands of jobs, it does one other thing. It gives billionaires like Bruce Rauner a tax cut of what for him would have been up to $7 million in 2015. So our governor Bruce Rauner has a choice does he want to protect healthcare for over a million people, protect billions of dollars coming to our state budget and tens of thousands of jobs or does he want to protect his book to the tune of 7 million dollars.”

The House is supposed to vote on the American Care Act on Friday despite the uncertainty of a majority need to pass the measure. Trump and leading G.O.P members spent all day Thursday playing cheerleader in closed-door sessions to those republicans who are still on the fence about the repeal of Obamacare.

Image credit: Activists conclude their protest by rallying in front of Trump Tower demanding a stop to the repeal of the ACA, Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017, in Chicago. Tyler LaRiviere/NationofChange

Those that are on the fence see the American Care Act as costing more and didn’t roll back federal health insurance mandates enough. While moderates worried that the repeal would hurt their constituents too much and thusly hurt their chances at reelection in 2018.

Hundreds are expected to organize again Friday in Chicago as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is suppose to host a fundraising dinner at the City Club of Chicago on the same day that the House is supposed to vote on the future of Obamacare.

Tell Congress: Keep the pre-existing condition clause for health insurance:

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