“Save Our Health Care” rally fills Portland gym with supporters

Hundreds of people concerned over losing their healthcare benefits through the Affordable Care Act joined Oregon lawmakers Sunday morning for a rally.

The “Our First Stand: Save Our Health Care” rally in Portland is part of a national day of action where leading Democrats in the House and Senate share their plans to oppose President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans who are working to repeal Obamacare.

Last week, Senate Republicans passed a budget resolution with a 51-48 vote, marking the first step to repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they plan to take on the replacement in “manageable pieces with step-by-step reform,” however there is no immediate timetable in place.

Hundreds showed up at Portland’s Self Enhancement Inc. Gymnasium Sunday for the rally. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden were joined by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and other speakers.

Merkley told the crowd that more than 300,000 Oregon residents had gained access to health care under the Affordable Care Act.

“Today we take the gloves off,” said Sen. Wyden. “A repeal of the ACA … rips healthcare from millions of people.”

Wyden says he’s never going to support going back to the days that he says allowed insurance companies to have their way with anyone who was sick.

In a statement, Democrats said they were “providing a platform for Americans concerned about losing their health insurance, staggering impending surges in health care cost, elimination of preexisting condition exemptions and other devastating consequences if the GOP succeeds in repealing Obamacare.”

Thousands others rallied in freezing temperatures in Michigan Sunday, where Sen. Bernie Sanders called on Americans to resist Republican efforts to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Rallies in some other cities in support of the health law were also well attended. Police estimated about 600 people showed up in Portland, Maine. Hundreds also attended a rally in Newark, New Jersey.