Merkley to Highlight Crucial Benefits of Affordable Care Act with Guest to Joint Session

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley announced that at President Trump’s speech tomorrow to a Joint Session of Congress, he will bring as his guest an Oregonian who owes her life and the life of her son to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Marlene Barbera and her son Maximilian were both able to receive lifesaving liver transplants thanks to the ACA. Marlene had unknowingly been infected with Hepatitis C while working at a plasma donation center in the 1980s. Both she and her son became very ill between 2010 and 2013 and needed liver transplants to survive. Today, they both continue to require very expensive post-transplant medications that are made affordable thanks to coverage through their ACA Marketplace plans.

“Marlene and Maximilian’s story shows all too starkly the high cost of repeal,” said Merkley. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Affordable Care Act is a matter of life and death for countless families in Oregon and across the nation. If Donald Trump wants to come to Congress tomorrow night and urge us to help him destroy health care for the middle class, he should have to look Americans like Marlene in the eye. He should have to explain why he is okay taking away the lifesaving care they have gained.”

“The ACA saves lives. That’s a fact. It saved my life; it saved my son’s life,” said Barbera. “I’m honored to join Senator Merkley in DC to highlight the true cost of repeal, and to fight for an America that works for all Americans. I hope Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress will hear our message and not put our lives at risk.”

The uncertainty created by Republican repeal plans has already begun to throw insurance markets into chaos. Yet Trump on Monday morning reaffirmed his intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite the direct and, in some cases, devastating impacts that repeal would have on millions of American families.