Supporters of Obamacare have rallied across the United States to protest Republican-led efforts to repeal and replace the landmark healthcare law.
Demonstrators took to the streets in Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere on Thursday, marking the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
The House of Representatives had been scheduled to vote on replacement legislation to begin dismantling Obamacare, but the vote was delayed after President Donald Trump and Republican leaders could not get the necessary 215 votes.
Trump gave an ultimatum to House Republicans, demanding a vote on the replacement legislation dubbed the American Health Care Act (ACHA) by Friday.
Many supporters of Obamacare, which is seen by many as former president Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, expressed deep concerns about the outcome of the healthcare debate in Congress.
Protesters dressed as hospital patients march towards the Federal Building during a “Save the Affordable Care Act” rally in Los Angeles, California on March 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
“I feel sick today, but I came here because I’m terrified,” said 27-year-old Steve Martin, who was diagnosed with cancer a year ago.
“The legislators have the best healthcare in the world, and we deserve the same,” Martin told Reuters.
Many members of Congress, including moderate Republicans, are worried that dismantling the existing healthcare law without a viable replacement would leave millions of Americans without health coverage.
The Congressional Budget Office has warned that 24 million Americans would lose their insurance if the Republican bill is passed into law.
Organizers of a rally in Washington symbolically put forward 24 activists for an act of disobedience in front of the White House to protest the Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare.
The activists were arrested as federal law prohibits political protests on the sidewalk directly in front of the White House.
Protesters demonstrate against US President Donald Trump and his plans to end Obamacare outside the White House in Washington, March 23, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Hundreds of protesters gathered a short distance across from them in LaFayette Square Park, chanting “we shall not be moved” as the activists were being arrested.
A few blocks from the White House, several hundred people assembled at Freedom Plaza, carrying signs with slogans such as “We Fight Back” and “Keep America Healthy.”
In Los Angeles, nearly 3,000 protesters took to the streets calling on the Trump administration to “save Obamacare.”